The 20th century introduced marvels of medicine that were bound to revolutionize the lives of average individuals. One such development came in the form of oral contraceptives that would assist women in preventing pregnancies. For the first time, women had a chance to engage in other activities in society, other than raising children at home, and had a say in the size family they wanted. Presently, over 11 million women in the United States alone use oral contraceptives as their preferred method of family planning and due to its effectiveness in inhibiting symptoms that often accompany their menstruation cycle (Wilkinson). In essence, it also serves to prevent manifestations such as tension, depression and the irritability that often accompanies it every month. In the United States, colleges, universities and employers providing health plans that cover every single facet of their lives. Also included in this program, were birth control plans that would benefit this same bracket of individuals in the society (Dania Palanker, Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown University). However, a decree issued by President Donald Trump has urged these institutions to drop their birth-control coverage. In this essay, I will discuss reasons why this is a step in the wrong direction and why employers should include birth control in their health plan.
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Developments in the Trump administration came as a shock to many when it was soon clear that employers and institutions of higher learning were now at liberty to eliminate birth-control coverage as part of the health benefits enjoyed. These changes were made based on moral and religious protestation on an issue that elicits harsh criticism from various quarters. Under this regulation, employers and insurers would be exempt from covering any cost of contraception. It is the culmination of the onslaught that religious institutions have been having in the United States over the ACA in 2010 (Juliet Eilperin, Amy Goldstein And William Wan). Even though birth control was not mentioned discretely as a health care requirement covered in the plan, it was still provided under the women’s healthcare services. It was for this reason that the Federal Government required all employers to choose one method of birth control that was approved by the FDA and was to be provided exclusively as part of the healthcare package. The clash of principles came when enterprises that were under the Catholic Church, such as charities, schools, and hospitals, were expected to implement these policies. Under lawsuits such as Zubik v. Burwell, these institutions wanted to be excluded from this plan. The Trump administration answered these calls by scrapping the ACA 2010 plan which now means that employers would be under no obligation to provide birth control under their health care plans.
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Scrapping the Contraceptive Coverage Mandate would now mean that thousands of women who grapple with rape, drug addiction or domestic violence would be at grave risk. It is a reality that there are a section of individuals in society who struggle with ills that make them quite vulnerable. Many of these individuals live in inner-city neighborhoods where they have to go the extra mile to ensure that their families are adequately catered for. These adversities put them at risk and are further exacerbated when these women fall pregnant. If such an individual fall is pregnant, their productivity will be affected. Most of these women are breadwinners in families that depend a great deal on them. They have to stay at work so that they can ensure the financial stability of families which rely on them for basic needs and sustenance. Moreover, getting an extra mouth to feed will also strain the family’s overstretched resources that which will continue making life even more difficult for the family (North). The rash decision taken by Trump’s administration to remove such women from their employer’s health care plan would mean that thousands of families will be affected directly by such an arbitrary shift in policy.
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The implementation of these new policies will also witness a surge in employers and insurers illegally rolling back on their health care plans so that they can save money. Employers are now free to act arbitrarily, without taking the all the women that will be affected by this change in policy into consideration. In reality, it serves as a classic form of discrimination against women. It is important to acknowledge that these changes in the system would affect health services that are only offered to women (“Trump Guts Requirement That Employer Health Plans Pay For Birth Control”). The earlier inclusion of birth control in the health services provided for women underscores its importance in society. It wasn’t a policy that was implemented overnight, but one that had involved a plethora of researchers who saw it fit for employers to include it as part of the health service package that women would receive. Excluding it therefore means that the Trump administration is downplaying the vitality of birth control to women all across the United States (Vann R. Newkirk II). Health care providers across the world agree unanimously that birth control is integral to the preventive health services offered to women and should be offered without cost-sharing. Some women use birth control to prevent pregnancies that they would otherwise be unable to carry to term. Miscarriages affect a sizeable amount of women with others acknowledging their health condition and therefore avoid this risk by employing the various birth control methods that are on offer.
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I opine that it is against American values to prevent women from accessing birth control. Women occupy a prominent position in society and need to be treated with respect. They are mothers who care for their children, supportive wives to their husbands and the pillar that holds homes together. Denying them the right to contraception borders on discrimination based on gender. It was clear, from the onset, that the only group that would be affected by this change in the law were women. Majority of these women are unable to cater for such medical expenses as they are costly and most probably affect their financial status. Furthermore, apart from preventing pregnancies, it has also been proved beyond any reasonable doubt that these medicines are vital in suppressing symptoms such as severe abdominal cramps. Women would be more productive if provided with these health services because they would not have to worry about their health and the risks that they might be facing at any particular moment.
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In conclusion, rolling back on the Collective Coverage Mandate by the Trump administration is a retrogressive move that will have adverse effects on women. Under this new policy, employers would opt out of covering birth control in the list of health services provided, therefore jeopardizing the lives of thousands of women. The ripple effect is that they will undergo financial strain in their efforts to keep pregnancies at bay while still working. It is therefore essential for employers to provide coverage for birth control for the women for equality purposes.
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