Guest Blogger: Recent Attacks on Reproductive Freedom
It’s hard to keep up with or understand exactly what this administration does day to day, but last week two major attacks on our health care took place. Here are some quick facts about what happened and what they mean for you.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a set of interim final rules impacting access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The administration released two rules:one offering exemption based on religious beliefs, and a second offering exemption based on moral beliefs. These rules allow:
- Virtually ANY employer to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees, or any university to deny students such coverage based on religious or moral objection;
- Individuals to request a health plan that does not include contraceptive coverage; and
- Issuers to opt-out of providing group or individual coverage on the basis of any religious or moral objection.
This is a sweeping change from the Obama administration rules, which allowed religiously-affiliated nonprofit organizations and closely held for-profit companies to refuse to pay for birth control coverage based on religious objection while still guaranteeing that employees had birth control access by requiring health issuers to provide coverage directly to them (also known as the accommodation).
Because these are interim final rules, they take effect immediately. This means that at any time the institutions that provide your health care can discontinue your birth control coverage without warning or reason.
We want to make clear that this is a direct attack on birth control access for 62+ million women. When talking about this try not to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of the law and instead lean into the harmful impact this rule will have on women. Take these stories for instance:
As these stories show, people access birth control for a variety of reasons, and whether or not someone’s religions or morals condemn premarital sex should not affect anothers ability to access these life saving medications.
20 Week Abortion Ban
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestational age with only a few exceptions.
Nearly 99-percent of abortions occur before 21 weeks, but when they are needed later in pregnancy, it’s often in very complex circumstances. For example, severe fetal anomalies and serious risks to the woman’s health — the kind of situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available. 20-week bans are highly unpopular throughout the country. 61% of all voters say abortion should be legal after 20 weeks. Plus, Democrats (78%), Republicans (62%), and Independents (71%) say this is the wrong issue for lawmakers to be spending time on.
Here’s the rundown on everything you need to know about 20-week bans
- 20-week bans are part of an agenda to ban all abortion. Anti-abortion politicians in congress and in state legislatures are pushing their agenda, bit by bit, to ultimately outlaw abortion completely.
- 20-week bans are unconstitutional. 20-week bans are a clear attempt to erode Roe v. Wade. In fact, 20-week ban proponents are outspoken about their goal to challenge the 1973 Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.
- 20-week bans are opposed by doctors. Both Physicians for Reproductive Health and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists condemn these bans.
- 20-week bans criminalize doctors. Politicians shouldn’t have the right to take options away from doctors in dangerous medical situations or prevent them from informing patients about all their health care options.
This ban passed in the House but still needs to pass the Senate before it takes effect. Reach out to your representatives today to stop it in its tracks!
Kennedy Fields is the 2017-2018 Community Outreach Intern at Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah. She is currently studying Gender Studies and History at the University of Utah.