by Maria Siragusa
27 October 2017
Following a year of heated arguments on the issue of birth control, The Trump Administration has decided to eliminate the ObamaCare birth control mandate. According to a report published in the New York Times regarding this new rollback, the mandate previously allowed many forms of these products to be covered through health insurance. With this new rollback, virtually any employer across the country can now claim a religious or moral objection to the mandate, and deny providing birth control coverage.
This means that women are going to have to start using money from their pockets to get the products that they need. According to Planned Parenthood, a one month’s supply of the birth control pills costs anywhere from $50-$150, with appointments to get prescribed this pill being almost double that price. Because of this, costs quickly add up.
Women–including Oswego East students–who use birth control for reasons other than preventing pregnancy will also be affected by this mandate. It is commonly used to alleviate the symptoms of illnesses such as anemia, endometriosis, and POCS ( Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).Women using birth control for these illnesses will now need to resort to other methods, or begin paying for these products.
One of these women is senior Alexandra [Ally] Bentel. Bentel has been taking the pill for almost two years. When she noticed during her sophomore year that her period was lasting well over the normal time, she knew something was wrong.
“I started getting really light headed all the time, and it got hard for me to participate in any physical activity because I was getting tired so fast,” Bentel said.
After visiting with her doctor, she was diagnosed as anemic, meaning the low levels of iron in her blood were causing her to bleed uncontrollably and at an extremely fast rate.
Ally is not alone in this struggle. According to statistics gathered by American Family Physician, anemia affects about 9 to 12% of non-Hispanic white women, and nearly 20% in black and Mexican-American women in the US alone.
“I shouldn’t have to put my life on hold because of my period. My birth control lets me live normally without having my period get in the way,” Bentel said.
However, Bentel indicated that she thought the rollback was unnecessary, and things were working well under the mandate.
“I don’t think companies should be able to deny coverage to women based on their beliefs. It’s like they get to pick and choose who to pay for depending on their beliefs,” Bentel said.
Additionally, birth control pills are also utilized to alleviate the brutal symptoms that many women’s periods bring. Senior Jamie Haas uses the pill to control her normally painful period symptoms.
“Before I started taking birth control, my period caused me painful stomach cramps, crippling nausea that started days before my period, headaches, bloating, and intense cravings. It was miserable,” Haas said.
Both girls can agree that their periods interfering with their everyday lives was a huge problem, that birth control solved.
When Haas heard the news on the mandate rollback, she indicated that she was shocked but understood the rationale behind the rollback.
“[It’s unfortunate] that my family and [I] eventually won’t have birth control costs covered by insurance, but I think it’s important that we respect company’s reasons for not providing coverage,” Haas said.
Economics teacher Dave Carlisle said that he can also see the reasoning behind the birth control mandate being removed.
“I don’t really care what women choose to do with their bodies. It’s their choice. But I do care that we allow all people to practice their faith and be able to act according based on this.”
Carlisle went on to say that for any American citizen, the day-to-day, weekly, monthly, and even annual costs of living can be significant. This particular rollback, he said, while somewhat unfortunate, will result in spending that is no different for other Americans with other conditions.
“I pay a lot of expensive costs that are necessary to my survival and health,” Carlisle went on. “Asking working women to pay these costs should be manageable to them.”
Junior Jordan Williams agreed with this. But, he decided that he can see both ways on why this decision was made.
“I think that there are obvious benefits to providing birth control to women which the mandate was good for. But, I also think that people shouldn’t be forced to pay for it if it goes against their beliefs, ” Williams said.
There is no doubt that this controversial decision on the rollback of Obama’s birth control mandate is going to impact the lives of countless people. Whether this impact is positive or negative is yet to be determined.
Not surprisingly, Trump has already received backlash from states across the country, so you can bet that the issue of birth control is far from over.
Maria Siragusa is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL