Everyone knows about the current battle with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, for others. What many people are unaware of is the consequences that could arise with an improper replacement.
According to the Washington Post, the Senate voted early on Thursday, January 12, to approve a budget resolution instructing House and Senate committees to begin work on legislation to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act. Democratic senators had introduced amendments that would save certain, essential parts of the healthcare law in the new budget, according to Teen Vogue. All of the amendments, however, were rejected and struck down. This included a proposal to keep birth control covered by insurance and to preserve the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition clause. In other words, birth control costs can increase greatly, and if you could be dropped from your insurance if you become pregnant. Planned Parenthood determines that this decision will leave approximately 55 million women without no co-pay birth control.
College students are a large part of this statistic, and the lack of free birth control will drastically affect many students. Alongside birth control, an amendment that was aimed to ensure that women receive free birth control and mammograms, required insurance companies to cover maternity care, and prevent insurance companies from charging women more for preexisting conditions, was rejected.
Seven first year college women were interviewed for their initial thoughts and reactions to this news. While each of these students derive from different backgrounds and career fields, their answers all revolved around their disagreement with the repeal:
Nadia Racaniello — Ithaca College — English major
“Many of my friends have been on several forms of birth control throughout their lives, and I have always been in support of birth control and the access to receive them. Birth control, especially free birth control, is so imperative for women and people who are able to conceive. Many politicians make such a big deal out of abortion, and emphasizing the fact that they are pro-life, but they are obviously not pro-life for the women and people already born. By taking away free birth control, they are taking away the chance and right of a person to control what goes on in their body. Money is not free, nor is pregnancy.”
Gia Tims — Hofstra University — Journalism major
“I know many girls who rely on the availability of the free pills and such and now they are going to be left with nothing. It’s really devastating because a lot of unplanned pregnancies happen to women who cannot afford to protect themselves and free birth control helped alleviate those instances. Taking free birth control away only guarantees more unplanned pregnancies. This spike in unplanned pregnancies can potentially lead to more abortions, which is something else the government is trying to take away from us. You can't take away our protection and expect us to be okay with taking away Roe v Wade. It's unfair, poorly thought out, and quite frankly, a recipe for disaster.”
Lexie Jorgensen — Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute — EMT Studies major
“A lot of the women taking advantage of free birth control can't afford children. If you take that away from them, you're literally telling them to reproduce. They have children that they can't afford or they get unsafe abortions because they can't afford a safe abortion OR a child. Then what happens when she can't pay for her child? She applies for WELFARE. So now she's living off the state and the people who want to repeal free birth control are the ones complaining about people living on welfare because they're ‘hardworking tax payers’ and that's where their money goes to. So taking away free birth control for women is not a good idea.”
Victoria Davis — Georgia State University — Public Health major
“It’s bad because now women have to pay a lot of money just for contraception and now many girls just won’t have access to birth controls which can leave to a high teen pregnancy rate. They don’t want us to use contraception and they don’t want us having abortions or anything of the sort, so they’re kind of pushing women into a small corner, forcing us to bring a life into the world that ladies may not be prepared for.”
Olivia Hoy — Brandeis University — Chemical Biology and Hispanic Studies major
“I just think it's inappropriate for men to police women's bodies. We are the ones who can get pregnant and we should have full control over whether or not we do. We did not choose to be this way and therefore shouldn't have to pay to prevent pregnancy or relieve painful or heavy periods. If men are constantly sexualizing women and expecting them to be nothing more than sexual objects, we should at least be able to control what could happen as a result of sex.”
Jalynn Clancy — Hampton University — Early Childhood Education major, Leadership minor
“Men have no right to determine our lives as women and how we preserve it. Including birth control, which men have no jurisdiction to control or take away. They do not contain any part of our female anatomy, so their thoughts and opinions on birth control, pregnancy, and abortions is irrelevant.”
Comineta Brinkley — Frostburg State University — Sociocultural Anthropology major
"I really believe that it is unfair for women because they won't have a good opportunity to have safe sex... Birth control is also beneficial for some women too when they're dealing with their periods."
These are only seven college women that have had a say about the recent decision to repeal free birth control. Their initial opinions are prominent throughout the country, with agreement from thousands of college students just like them. While this decision hasn't been published into law just yet, the thought of this idea becoming a reality is enough to put everyone on edge.
Lead Image: Charlotte Cooper via Flickr Commons