On Friday morning, President Donald Trump rolled back the Health & Human Services Contraception mandate, a highly controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act. The mandate required employers to provide all forms of contraception to their employees, including sterilization and potential abortifacients. While the Obama administration did tout exemptions for religious organizations, the exemptions were so narrow they amounted to very little. Trump’s decision to lift the mandates comes after several years of legal battles.
Lawsuits have had mixed results. In 2014, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods were victorious at the U.S. Supreme Court, and thus protected from covering abortifacients to which they objected. Last year’s divided court decision, however, handed back a case to the divided lower courts regarding whether religious groups, including Little Sisters of the Poor and Priests for Life, could be exempt from involvement with insurers and administrators who would be involved in covering their employees. Courts also found that secular groups could not claim exemptions from the mandate.
This rollback decision now allows employers to follow their consciences about whether or not to provide certain types of contraception. It does not affect the legality of contraception, nor does it forbid employers from providing it, should they wish to do so.
Opponents of the Trump Administration’s decision have claimed that women will now be denied health care, but 1) these same opponents would call abortion healthcare (and the objectionable contraception is potentially abortifacient), and 2) contraception has not been banned or even restricted.
Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, responded to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Twitter after Pelosi made the spurious claim about denying women healthcare:
Abortifacient drugs are the antithesis of “healthcare.” Medicine is meant to heal, not kill. https://t.co/Xx2XKP3TYp
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) October 6, 2017
Artificial hormones used to suppress fertility are not healthcare. Fertility is not a disease. It’s how our bodies are meant to work.
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) October 6, 2017
Studies on why women decide not to use contraception show that they are aware of and concerned about the possible side effects and risks of hormonal contraception.
A frequent claim made by abortion advocates is that if pro-lifers wanted to truly prevent abortion, then they would endorse all contraception, because contraception is supposed to prevent unplanned pregnancies which could lead to abortion. But contraceptive use is already widespread in this country, and more than half of women seeking abortions were already using contraception at the time they became pregnant, according to the pro-abortion, pro-contraception Guttmacher Institute.
Even with contraception usage, unplanned pregnancies have risen. And the Guttmacher Institute acknowledges that the contraceptive mandate failed to have much of an effect on women’s contraception usage.
As blogger Matt Walsh mentioned on Facebook, abortion has not gone away in America, despite having extremely accessible contraception. Contraception, specifically its failure, Walsh says, has divorced the idea of sex from procreation in the minds of many people; unfortunately, this may serve to make people intent on not getting pregnant even more dependent on abortion:
… [B]irth control has formed a culture where sex is treated as frivolous and meaningless, and there will always be abortion in that kind of culture. Moreover, birth control has created the impression not only that conception CAN be separated from sex, but that it should be. Now, when someone gets pregnant — even and especially if they were using birth control — they are far more likely to resort to abortion because they see pregnancy as an oppressive and intrusive accident. They see the baby as a usurper ruining their fun. Birth control has not negated this attitude. It has almost single handedly created it.
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