Jonah Harrison

The birth control pill: fighting assumptions against medical prescriptions

In the course of the Trump administration’s attack on Barack Obama’s health care policies, birth control has entered the cross-hairs. On Oct. 6 the Trump administration announced a rollback on an Obama-era policy requiring employers to provide birth control coverage at no cost to their employees. This policy rollback is no small change either. According to the New York Times from an Obama administration report, “More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive coverage mandate.”

The Department of Justice released a memorandum that employers can have exemption to non-discrimination laws when it interferes with their religious freedom. In addition to that, the Department of Health and Human Services rolled back the mandate that birth control is a required part of employer provided health insurance. The new rules took effect immediately after their announcement in early October.

Even at its introduction, the birth control policy was controversial. This rollback has been spurred on by Hobby Lobby, the religious organization The Little Sisters of the Poor, and other religious companies and organizations. Trump is now attempting to fulfill his campaign promises to those organizations. The main claim is that the birth control mandate violates their religious and moral beliefs which are protected under the first amendment in the constitution.

This rollback does not come without resistance. The constitutional argument is not one sided. For example, the attorney generals of California and Massachusetts have filed lawsuits against the rollback. Their arguments relate to the section of the first amendment which states “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” They are not alone, as women’s organizations, such as the National Partnership for Women and Families, and doctors, such as Anne Davis, a consulting medical director for Physicians for Reproductive Health. They argue that not only is the rollback discriminatory toward women, it could, as Davis said, leave women “vulnerable to the whims of their employers.”

Students respond to the administration’s rollback, citing their personal experiences as reasons why the disagree with the new mandate.

This story is reprinted from The Rubicon Print edition: Nov 21, 2017

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