It’s exceptionally difficult to be an American female in 2017.
I mean, it’s literally as if we’re characters in Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale, subjected to an oppressive regime that denies us our rights as women. A not-too-distant future where sexuality and reproduction are controlled.
On Friday, President Donald Trump and his administration, via the Department of Health and Human Services, ramped up the existing suffocation with the rollback of a portion of his predecessor’s legacy.
The target? The contraception mandate in Obamacare. Destroyed? Our freedom.
One of the last vestiges of a fading era is the Affordable Care Act. With it, Barack Obama cemented his legacy as savior of the known universe. What President Trump did to one portion of that pricy legislation is, in no uncertain terms, shocking.
The Trump administration will allow virtually any employer to claim a religious or moral objection to Obamacare’s birth control coverage mandate under a sweeping rollback announced Friday.
“The United States has a long history of providing conscience protections in the regulation of health care for entities and individuals with objections based on religious beliefs or moral convictions,” the administration wrote in new rules.
The administration issued two rules — one outlining how an employer could claim an exemption for religious beliefs, the other outlining an exemption for sincerely held moral convictions — on the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for sweeping protections for religious freedom in a government-wide memo that could have far-reaching implications.
“Today’s outrageous rules by the Trump Administration show callous disregard for women’s rights, health, and autonomy, said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. “By taking away women’s access to no-cost birth control coverage, the rules give employers a license to discriminate against women. We will take immediate legal steps to block these unfair and discriminatory rules.”
“President Trump’s shameful war on women rages on,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) in a statement. “By ending the birth control mandate, the President and his Administration are allowing employers to stand in the way of women accessing the healthcare that they and their doctors have deemed necessary.”
And thus the battle continues. There is a war, and it is against women.
It’s unclear why such rules would be created and enforced. After all, our right as human females to purchase our own birth control, aided by employer health plans, shall not be infringed. It matters little if a handful of sexually suppressed nuns or Christian school administrators possess serious moral reservations about including contraception in their insurance plans. Women should not only have the freedom to purchase what they want but should demand that it be subsidized by others…just because. Our hands are out, and we want them filled.
While neither myself nor any other oppressed woman is barred from purchasing any form of birth control, I may now be required to fund it, depending on my employer’s beliefs. Each day that passes means that these harmful ideologies creep closer to our bedroom doors and may one day kick them down in some puritanical crusade against lovemaking. That’s where we’re headed, right?
And I thought we had evolved past all that in 2017.
When you couple these rulings with the Republican hope that Planned Parenthood is defunded in the near future, you’ve spelled d-o-o-m for women nationwide. It’s not if – it’s when – women will literally die as a result of asking them to fund their own uterus.
As we know, birth control is most often used to prevent pregnancy. What you may not know is that it is also used to help women who suffer from the conditions of endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, and of course, uncomfortable menstrual cycles. Now imagine a woman who deals with one of these conditions. If she works for an employer who objects to covering her contraception based on deeply-held moral or religious grounds, she will now be faced with the shocking reality of being personally and financially responsible for this affordable medicine.
It is unconscionable. It is unreal. It is our new normal.
Though this action by the administration will only affect a small percentage of women residing in the country overall, the damage has been done.
PP was founded on the idea women should control their own bodies. 100 yrs later, we're still fighting for that. We won't stop. #HandsOffMyBC
— Dawn Laguens (@dawnlaguens) October 6, 2017
The gains that have been made in the past century are now nearly erased. We look around and see that men never struggle with medical necessities and have it much easier. We grieve at the equality that is yet to be realized as we reach into our own pocketbooks and push forth payment for a month’s worth of hormone-infused pills.
Where is justice for our gender?
On Friday, the Trump administration ensured that our search continues.