by Chloe Clutter
There were a lot of unanswered questions in 2016. How will we go on without David Bowie? Was Leonardo DiCaprio surprised to finally get his Oscar? Is Kanye okay though? And how did Donald J. Trump actually become President of the United States of America? As if it wasn’t already a challenging – and maybe even terrifying – year for most of us, 2017 is not off to an great start. Many women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and the majority of the nation are fearful that some of the rights and benefits they have received over the last eight years might be ripped away in the new era we now face. First and foremost, for me, is the threat now posed to the Affordable Care Act and the possible defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Now, I certainly do not claim to be an expert on politics, but here is what I do know: the Affordable Care Act classifies contraception as preventive care and insures access to birth control at no cost to insured women. For women who are not covered under insurance, there is Planned Parenthood; for uninsured women, contraceptive costs are prohibitive elsewhere. If these crucial resources that millions of women rely on are discontinued, there will be consequences for our taxpayers, our economy, and our nation.
The Republicans’ plan to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding (which accounts for about 40% of their total funds) is disastrous for women. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a news conference earlier in January that “Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill.” Reconciliation bills are the exception to the rule. It entails a unique congressional procedure that allows legislation to bypass a Senate filibuster, which means the only requirement would be a majority vote by senators. This is problematic, since the senate is now majority Republican. Very similar legislation was passed by both houses of congress in 2015, but was vetoed by Obama. But with Trump in the Oval Office, Republicans are confident that the bill will be passed this go ‘round.
“We’ve had a 900% increase in women trying to get into Planned Parenthood to get an IUD since the election because they’re desperately concerned that they might lose their healthcare access…”
-Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards
In February 2016, Trump eloquently explained his position, saying, “as long as they do the abortion I am not for funding Planned Parenthood.”
After the election in November, millions of Americans were downright terrified – and many still are. I know I am. In just two short months, Planned Parenthood has seen a 900% increase in the demand for intrauterine devices (IUDs) which is a highly reliable form of birth control that can last more than five years. In other words, an IUD will outlast Trump’s presidency, so long he is confined to one term.
“We’ve had a 900% increase in women trying to get into Planned Parenthood to get an IUD because they’re desperately concerned that they might lose their access to healthcare and they know that Planned Parenthood is the place that can provide it,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told CNN.
The ignorance that these plans to undo the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood is just mind-boggling. If women like me are not granted health insurance through our employmer, and our only comprehensible alternative is taken away, what realistic options are there? Despite all of this, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. As Richards says, “women in this country are absolutely not going without a fight and the majority is with us.” Diana DeGette, a Congresswoman from Colorado, echoed her, echoed her, saying, “We are going to stand against this with every fiber of our being.”
This Saturday, January 21st, the Women’s March on Washington will follow Inauguration Day. Women all across America will show Congress and Trump that we mean business and that we will not go down without a fight. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.