Earlier this month, the Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era mandate that required employers to include birth control in their insurance plans. In advance of the January 2018 deadline, when many companies could drop birth control coverage, Planned Parenthood has launched its #Fight4Birth Control campaign.
The initiative takes a three-pronged approach that aims to encourage employers to keep birth control on their insurance plans, even though the federal mandate has been rolled back. It involves employee engagement, employer engagement, and political accountability.
The #Fight4BirthControl campaign arms employees with the necessary tools to have conversations about birth control coverage with their employers. The "employee toolkit" can be found at FightForBirthControl.org and it contains information about current U.S. health care policies and tips for women on how to keep their birth control.
Planned Parenthood is also reaching out to employers with a #BusinessForBC campaign that encourages companies to publicly commit to providing birth control for their employees. And, of course, political engagement is crucial during this fight. FightForBirthControl.org offers women the opportunity to share their stories about why they need birth control with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
"This administration poses the biggest threat to birth control since it became legal more than 50 years ago. Today we are calling on business leaders, schools, and private citizens to join the fight and stand up for women," Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President for Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "Birth control is basic health care and should not be up for debate. Today, more women graduate, lead, and innovate than at any other point in our history, and that’s true in large part for one very important reason: access to birth control. But now our basic health care — and all that progress — is threatened by an administration bent on taking us backwards."
According to The Guttmacher Institute, nearly nine in 10 women of reproductive age will use contraception at some point in their lives, whether it's for family planning or to treat medical conditions such as endometriosis. After the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision took effect, the number of women who had to pay for birth control out of pocket dropped from 20% to less than 4%.
62.4 million women across the country benefit from copay-free contraception, and one in three women say they could not afford birth control today if it cost more than $10 per month. In addition to preventing unplanned pregnancies, 58% of women on the pill also rely on it to treat conditions including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, and menstrual regulation — and some women use it solely to treat medical conditions.
"Since Trump and those in charge of the Republican party won’t lead, we’re counting on American businesses to do what’s right and stand up for their values. The only way to prevent women from going backwards in this country is for everyone who believes in women’s equality — from business leaders to artists to activists — to stand in the gap and join this fight. There’s no scenario where our country progresses while leaving half the population behind," Laguens said.