Trump’s Contraceptive Mandate Controversy and The Elephant In The Room
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains a mandate dealing with contraceptive coverage by health insurers. Now most insurance plans must cover contraceptives for women free of charge, whether this via health insurers or employers providing health insurance to employees.
However, President Trump has recently moved to rollback some of the mandates cemented by his predecessor.
The debate frequently gets contentious on social media, pitting cultural conservatives and their pro-life values versus feminist activists wary of any inroads against their right to do with their bodies what they choose.
What gets lost in the controversy is that in many instances the real issue isn’t a matter of choice or freedom, it’s a situation where the drugs themselves have proven to be disastrous to the bodies of the women who take them. A great example of this is Essure, an implant purported to be a simple way for women to manage her fertility, but instead it has caused untold millions of women major health issues and has become part of a major litigation push aimed at the manufacturer Bayer.
Here are some of the forms of birth control covered in the mandate, along with a brief description of each:
- Condom – Formerly made from sheep or other animals’ intestines, condoms have long been a protective measure against unplanned births and sexually transmitted diseases. Today there exist a vast array of condom variations, including those that are Scotch whisky flavored and battery-powered condoms which pulsate to provide sexual pleasure.
- Female condom – First created in the 1980s, female condoms are quite similar to male condoms besides the fact that the woman brandishes the birth control device as opposed to the male.
- Diaphragm – A cervical barrier, diaphragms are also known as “Dutch Caps,” have been used since the late 19th A diaphragm is generally composed of latex with a semi-rigid outer rim, takes a circular shape, and is inserted into the uterus.
- Sponge w/spermicide – Produced in the 1980s, the sponge and spermicide combination is another form of cervical barrier. The sponge is placed within the uterus and contains spermicide to prevent any sperm entrance into the cervix.
- Progestin-only pill – This oral form of contraception creates a situation in which sperm has difficulty reaching the egg. Thickening of the cervical mucus causes the sperm to stick to uterine mucus, failing to reach and subsequently fertilize the female’s egg. Progestin is only available with doctor’s prescription, but the pregnancy prevention rate of progestin is over 90%.
- Estrogen and Progestin combination pill – A variation of the previously-discussed oral contraceptive, estrogen and progestin prevent pregnancy by disallowing ovulation, the process of releasing an egg from the ovaries.
- Patch – The patch is not ingested orally or inserted into the uterus but instead applied to the outside of the skin to release hormones into the bloodstream. Producing an identical effect of the combination pill, the patch prevents the release of an egg from the ovaries, inhibiting the sperm from fertilization.
- NuvaRing – A flexible, plastic ring inserted into the uterus monthly, NuvaRing releases small amounts of estrogen and progestin over three week intervals.
- Depo Provera – Proven to be 99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies, Depo Provera is the name given to an injection given to women every three months. The injection prevents production of hormones.
- Plan B – Also known as “the morning after pill” or the “day after pill”, emergency contraceptives may be taken post-sexual intercourse. Variations of Plan B and other products may prevent pregnancy by changing the menstrual cycle, stopping ovulation, and aggravating the endometrium (uterine walls).
- Copper/hormonal IUD – Perhaps the most effective form of contraception is the intrauterine device. The IUD is a T-shaped plastic mechanism inserted into the uterus by a doctor, and boasts a pregnancy rate of users to be less than 1%. The copper IUD causes the uterus to produce sperm-killing fluid, while the hormonal IUD causes cervical mucus to be thick and sticky which prevent sperm from travelling through the uterus.
- Implanon – A relatively new form of birth control (licensed in 1999), Implanon is implanted under the skin of the upper arm and releases hormones to prevent ovulation for 3-5 years at a time. The device is the size of a matchstick and mainly made of flexible plastic.
Knowing these various contraceptive forms is important so you know if you and your partner should be covered under your health insurance plan.