In early October, President Donald Trump's administration began successfully pushing pieces of legislation concerning contraception.
Trump is now allowing employers to refuse birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. This was created under the notion that organizations with religious or moral perspectives against contraception should be able to deny birth control.
For me, it’s hard to see this law as anything but anti-woman, because it completely ignores the many reasons women may have for taking birth control besides controlling unwanted pregnancies.
Supporters argue that most large companies won’t actually drop birth control, but what about the ones that do?
According to Planned Parenthood, about 55 percent of women struggled with the cost of birth control before it was covered by health insurance. Without coverage, millions of American women will be at risk.
The House of Representatives also passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would “criminalize abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for instances where the life of the mother is at risk and in cases involving rape.” Many of this bill’s supporters point to the 20-week aspect of the law as a reasonable amount of time to have an abortion.
Unsurprisingly, our government has turned a blind eye to any reason a woman would want an abortion after 20 weeks that doesn’t involve rape or death.
Most of the tiny percentage of third trimester abortions that occur are for medically or socially complicated reasons. But, because these reasons would not cause death, they are considered insufficient.
The combination of bills condemning accessible birth control and those condemning abortions trap low-income women: For those who can’t even pay $20 every month for generic birth control, scraping together $10,000 for an abortion within 20 weeks is out of the question.
While the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has yet to be passed through the Senate, the increased number of anti-contraception bills running through Congress is disturbing.
But, in a traditionally male-dominated government, it’s not surprising that many of the bills passed don’t take into account the well-being of women.
Although women have traditionally had to labor under the patriarchal effects of the U.S. government, many worry that Trump’s sexist past encourages the antiquated ideals of conservatives more than ever before, thus creating an anti-woman America.
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There is an unmanageable amount of controversies and issues concerning women’s rights in today’s world. It’s impossible to keep up with every social and/or political pushback the patriarchy comes up with.
Since Harvey Weinstein was publicly accused of sexual harassment on Oct. 5, 12 new scandals have already broken about powerful men in Hollywood sexually harassing vulnerable people.
I believe that our government has an important role in representing its citizens and their needs. Although sexist behavior has always existed in our society, people are becoming more vocal about these issues, and we must hold our government accountable for acknowledging and doing everything in its power to fix these problems.
We need our government officials to start being leaders. We need legislation that will help the disadvantaged instead of perpetuating gender hierarchy. We need a president who will be a role model and demand equality.
As a young woman, it’s frustrating to me to feel like for every step forward, we are pushed two steps back. But, in the words of the social theorist Michel Foucault: “Where there is power, there is resistance.”
In a country that is currently being controlled by immense patriarchal power, I can only hope an immense power of equity exists somewhere as well.
Contact opinion writer Hallie Whiting at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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