All Hail Contraceptives!

Different types of contraceptives put into a cartoon infographic
(The Plaid Zebra)

According to Merriam-Webster, birth control is a way to control the number of children or offspring born especially by preventing or lessening the frequency of conception. But in fact, birth control is much more than a contraceptive.

Birth control can help women reduce the pain of their periods, control their period schedule, reduce acne and more aid in more serious illnesses such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Without insurance coverage of birth control, the 74.7 million women in the reproductive age range, 62% of whom use some form of birth control, will be impacted.

Since the beginning of the Trump administration, birth control coverage has been on the line. The Trump administration allows for companies, large or small, religious or secular, to deny insurance coverage to their employees on birth control methods, including but not limited to birth control pills, birth control rods, IUDs, birth control shots, birth control patches, or birth control sponges. This is a violation of the Affordable Care Act, which originally stated that all companies must allow for coverage of contraceptives. Due to a series of lawsuits brought on by Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties, and other Christian owned companies, the Supreme Court ruled that religious owned companies may be exempt from providing contraceptive coverage for their employees if they believe it violates their religious beliefs. Now under the Trump administration, religious and ‘moral’ grounds against birth control are on the same level and any company can refuse coverage to their employees.

A month’s worth of pills can cost up to $100 and doctor’s visits related to birth control up to $250 out of pocket, according to Planned Parenthood. That is a good bit of money. While Medicaid covers birth control in most cases—though it varies state to state—there are many people that cannot afford birth control and do not qualify for Medicaid. Long-acting reversible contraceptives are the most expensive, meaning only 7% of women in the United States use them, according to Slate.

Nearly half of the pregnancies in the United States are reported unintentional. According to NPR, if the government spent just $145 million dollars on programs to help provide birth control and family planning, taxpayers would save more than $356 million dollars by preventing unwanted pregnancies and the costs that come along with them. A $235 million investment would save the country more than $1.32 billion. The Washington Post reports that US taxpayers spend $21 billion dollars on unwanted pregnancies a year, including prenatal care. STD testing and family planning meetings can help save taxpayers an additional $15.8 billion. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that expanding such programs could cut the costs of unintended pregnancies by $15 billion.

In addition to saving money, easier access to birth control can reduce the number of abortions. Of the more than half of unintended pregnancies in the United States, almost 20% are unwanted, while the rest are considered to be ill-timed. About half of all unintended pregnancies were the result of lack of or incorrect use of contraceptive use, and 43% of all unintended pregnancies in the United States result in abortion, reports the US National Library of Medicine. Access to contraceptives and education on correct usage can help to reduce about 70% of all abortions in the United States a year.

With the given facts, evangelicals and pro-lifers have little to argue about the flaws of contraceptives considering the amount of money saved and abortions prevented each year if contraceptives were more readily available across the nation.

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