The University of Notre Dame has dropped birth control from the insurance plans of its employees and students, Indiana Public Media reports.
Following the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era birth control mandate, Notre Dame is the first major institution to announce the termination of birth control coverage.
Notre Dame informed staff and students of the change last Friday. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the decision, and one of the named plaintiffs is a law student at Notre Dame.
Prior to the Trump administration's rollback, the university was already taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act accommodation that allowed students and employees to work directly with insurers for contraception coverage. As a result, Notre Dame didn't have to pay directly for birth control. This new rule blocks women from obtaining contraception coverage through a third party.
"Notre Dame students just had their access to birth control coverage yanked away, without their consent and with no recourse. Birth control is basic health care and should not be up for debate — not on campuses and not in boardrooms," Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America told Refinery29 in an email statement. "Students and employees deserve an administration that stands behind them and makes it easier for them to access health care, including the full range of contraception. Instead, this administration seems determined to wage a full-out war on a woman’s ability to decide if and when they want to become pregnant."
America's abortion rate is currently at its lowest ever since Roe v. Wade, and studies have found a strong link between access to contraception and a decrease in abortions. The Trump administration and GOP's efforts to take away access to affordable contraception could lead to an increase in abortions, which flies in the face of their anti-choice stances.
"Today, more women graduate, lead, and innovate than at any other point in our history, and that’s in large part thanks to increased access to birth control. In fact, having access to birth control pills before age 21 has been found to be the most influential factor in enabling women to stay in college. But now our basic health care — and all that progress — is threatened by an administration bent on taking us backwards," Laguens added.
In addition to using birth control to prevent unplanned pregnancies, many women take the medication to manage medical conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome, and anemia caused by heavy menstrual bleeding. Notre Dame's decision to deprive women of fundamental health care is a deeply troubling step backwards.
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