What Trump’s Presidency Might Really Mean for Women’s Health

Amanda MacMillan Health.com

And why we’re being encouraged to get IUDs while they’re still an option.In the wake of this week’s election, millions of women may be wondering what the changing of the guard could mean for their healthcare and reproductive rights.

A photograph capturing a protest advocating for women's health rights, highlighting the activism and concerns surrounding the impact of Trump's presidency on women's health.
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Big changes to the Affordable Care Act and abortion access are on the table, since both were major parts of the Trump/Pence platform.

But women are worried about other issues as well—like intrauterine devices, or IUDs. In the past two days, several sites have suggested that women who aren’t looking to get pregnant any time soon should jump on this long-acting form of birth control, and the idea has been discussed widely on social media.

Does Donald Trump want to ban birth control? No, not as far as we know. However, plenty of what he and his running mate have proposed do raise concerns about access to healthcare—including, for some women, contraception. Here’s what we know might be at risk, and what to follow in the coming months.

Planned Parenthood

Trump praised Planned Parenthood for cancer assistance but plans to defund due to abortion services. Jennifer Gunter, MD, expresses concerns about access to abortions, STD testing, and essential care for uninsured women.

” (Even with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans still go without health coverage.)

Vice President­-elect Mike Pence has his own history with Planned Parenthood: As governor of Indiana, his public health spending cuts forced the closure of one clinic that happened to be the only HIV-testing facility in its county. Over the next few years, health officials documented the worst HIV outbreak in the state’s history.

Guaranteed coverage and free preventative services

If you have insurance through your job or your spouse’s job, you may think that Trump’s plan to repeal government-subsidized coverage doesn’t affect you. However, certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act apply to all insurance providers. For example, preventive services like ob-gyn visits, mammograms, and birth control prescriptions must be provided without a co-pay. Additionally, insurers cannot deny coverage due to preexisting conditions, and young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Trump hasn’t specified which parts of the health care law he would retain or how quickly he would dismantle the existing structure. But with the help of a Republican Congress, it’s safe to say that big changes are definitely coming.

Abortion rights (Trump’s Presidency)

Trump has campaigned on an anti-abortion platform and has pledged to appoint conservative Supreme Court justices (at least one) that could overturn Roe v. Wade, sending abortion laws back to the individual states to decide. Pence is also firmly pro-life, having passed strict abortion restrictions as governor of Indiana.

The President-elect has also promised to sign a law that would outlaw abortions nationwide after 20 weeks, before many fetal abnormalities can be detected via ultrasound, and to ensure that federal funding (including Medicaid) is not used to pay for abortions.

Insurance-covered birth control and emergency contraception (Trump’s Presidency)

The push for long-lasting IUDs, lasting up to 12 years to “outlast Trump,” may sound exaggerated. However, there is logic behind it. While Trump hasn’t directly addressed this, in October, Pence indicated on a conservative talk show that the administration planned to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate, which requires employer coverage of contraception in company-sponsored insurance plans.

“That would mean that some insurers could choose to drop birth control coverage,” says Dr. Gunter. “And for women who do want IUDs, that could mean spending $600 to $1,000 out of pocket.”

Also at stake: Coverage for emergency contraception like Plan B, which many pro-life and religious organizations oppose as well.

It’s highly unlikely, under any presidency, that women won’t be able to get any type of affordable birth control. Dr. Gunter advises that while there will always be affordable generic birth control pills available, IUDs and implants are the most effective in preventing pregnancy and should be seriously considered. If you were considering getting an IUD, Dr. Gunter recommends doing so promptly.

Otherwise, she says, women might want to consider getting one for several reasons—not just because of who’s in office. “Don’t get an IUD now because Trump is going to be President in January,” she says. “Get an IUD now because you’ve decided it’s the right method for you and the right time to do it.”

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