Wondering what's in store for your reproductive health in the near future? Chat us your questions! We're speaking with...
POPSUGAR News sat down with two directors from the Center For Reproductive Rights, Kelly Baden and Julie Rikelman, on Wednesday to discuss the future of women's health under Donald Trump's impending presidency. Read on for their answers to some of the questions POPSUGAR readers asked about the future of reproductive rights — and what women can do to help protect those rights:
1. What will happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned?
Rikelman: "It's important to note that Roe v. Wade has been the law in the United States for over 40 years. So, all of us have a basic constitutional right — and we've had it for over 40 years — to decide if we want to have a child, and when we want to have a child. We can't underestimate that, right now, really is probably the greatest threat we've had to that basic constitutional right since I've been alive. But the Center and other organizations are going to be fighting to make sure that that right isn't taken away from us. We have many things on our side: first of all, we are right. Second of all, the fact that generations of women have come of age having this right, and it's clear how important it is to all women and to their ability to work. The other thing we have is the rule of law. As a lawyer, once a big legal decision has been made, the Supreme Court isn't supposed to change its mind just because there are different justices on the court. That's a key part of what the rule of law is about: respecting the decisions that have been made before."
Baden: "The good news is that everyone can play a role in this, because any nominee to the Supreme Court will have to be approved by the United States Senate. If you live in the United States, then you have senators who are supposed to listen to you."
2. How can we protect Roe v. Wade?
Baden: "Making sure your senators know that you stand up for Roe v. Wade and you want them to do the same thing."
3. Is Planned Parenthood my only option for reproductive health?
Baden: "Planned Parenthood is incredibly important to the millions of people across the United States who have relied on it for care. Nearly one in five women in their lifetime will go to a Planned Parenthood. It is one of the things that we need to protect, immediately, with your members of Congress. As we've heard, it's one of the primary priorities of the Trump administration and the Paul Ryan Congress to take away support for Planned Parenthood. There's also a whole host of other places that people can access reproductive health care and abortion care. Independent abortion providers, other community health centers, are all integral to making sure we can access the care that we need. However, we don't have enough community health centers that could absorb the volume of patients Planned Parenthood sees."
4. What happens to my birth control coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed?
Rikelman: "That benefit also allowed women to chose a range of contraceptive methods and to not be charged as much for them. Many women have been increasingly choosing the long-acting methods (editor's note: like IUDs) which are easier for women to make sure they have that protection consistently. Women's unintended pregnancy rates are really dropping, and public health professionals believe that it's because they've gotten access to long-acting contraceptives. Even if it's not federal law, there are a number of states that are trying to make sure that women still have access to contraception. It would go back to the states and there would be health insurance companies deciding what they want to do. Additionally, as a matter of federal law, if you work in a sizable corporation, there are legal protections for you under Title VII, which protects against sex discrimination. When a company provides health insurance coverage for prescription drugs, it has to include coverage for contraceptives, otherwise that would be discrimination."
5. Is contraceptive access at risk under the Trump administration? And what kind of attacks should we expect?
Baden: "The biggest threat is going to be your ability to afford contraceptives under your health insurance plan. I think other threats are from the state level."
6. What do you think the timeline is for a lot of these changes?
Baden: "It really depends on what Congress does. It's a little bit hard to say. It's going to depend on your state, your insurance plan, and where you get your insurance."
7. What are some of the options for women if these rights are limited?
Rikelman: "Well, it's going to be hard. That's the reality; it's going to be hard for women. One of the reasons the no-copay benefit was so important is that it applied to everyone in the country. What we could see happen is increasingly where you live will determine your reproductive rights and your ability to access those rights. For women who are poor, they are always the ones who are worst hit by restrictions. If the benefit goes away, women are going to be in a really difficult position. They're going to need to be educated, learn about their communities, and continue to speak out."
8. Are stories of women stockpiling Plan B warranted?
Rikelman: "Well, people should always do what is best for them. Plan B is over-the-counter and the Center For Reproductive Rights is responsible for that lawsuit. We haven't heard of any plan to change the over-the-counter status of Plan B, but obviously the FDA is a federal agency, and there could be changes made there."
9. Why are Republicans opposing the no-copay on contraceptives?
Baden: "Their intent is all over the map. The truth, though, is that they are going to face a lot of blowback when they try to take away this benefit. It's an incredibly popular healthcare benefit: 77 percent of women support it and 65 percent of men support it."
10. What are some of the ways, big or small, concerned citizens can help make a difference when it comes to the fight for reproductive rights?
Baden: "It is as simple as an email, a phone call, or signing up for a list of an organization that you support and taking the click-through actions that they ask you to take. So that's the starting point. If you are interested in directly impacting your community, you can volunteer to be a clinic escort; you can link up with your local abortion fund; and it's about that day-to-day civic participation. Phone calls and in-person visits are the most effective ways that you can communicate with your elected officials. Phone calls are the way I recommend people start."
11. Are there other organizations besides Planned Parenthood and the Center For Reproductive Rights that we can support??
Kelly: "Yes, there are tons: the Abortion Fund, the National Network of Abortion Funds. Through the All Above All campaign, you can learn about the dangerous effects of the Hyde Amendment and how you can play a role in your community in trying to reinstate public insurance coverage for abortions. The National Association For the Repeal of Abortion Laws and Pro Choice America do a lot of great political organizing."