On Tuesday, Ohio lawmakers passed a bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is identified, which is usually six weeks after conception. The bill was sent to Governor John Kasich for approval.
Most women do not realize they are pregnant around six weeks, and the bill does not extend to exceptions for incest or rape — exceptions are only made if the life of the woman is in danger.
According to NPR, Planned Parenthood announced their opposition, saying that the bill is meant to make abortion illegal in Ohio, and it strips away a woman’s right from making her own medical decisions. Labeled “The Heartbeat Bill,” Kasich has over a week to veto the bill, or it becomes law.
What is happening in Ohio is representative of many recent changes in government that interfere with women’s health. With Trump as President-elect, many women are afraid of not having access to affordable birth control with his plan to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
In response, different Americans and organizations are now posting on social media about their gratitude for birth control, using the hashtag #ThxBirthControl.
According to NY Mag, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Bedsider organized a day-long social media campaign to ask people to support birth control and vocalize how contraception benefits society.
Contraceptives is a huge part of women’s healthcare. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 62 percent of women from the ages of 15-44 used a form of contraception from 2011-2013.
After Trump won the election, some women took to Twitter encouraging women to invest in an IUD, a form of birth control which is inserted into a woman’s uterus and lasts between three and twelve years.
These outcries from women across the country speak to the importance of providing affordable healthcare to all females.
According to the Houston Chronicle and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 19.7 million women live in “contraceptive deserts,” which means they lack easy access to public clinics that offer birth control methods like condoms, pills, IUDs, and spermicide. This means that the country lacks a proper number of clinics or providers that are enough to meet the county’s population.
This presents a problem in preventing unplanned pregnancy, especially for lower-income women. The Guttmacher Institute estimated that in 2011, almost half of U.S. pregnancies happened among lower-income women.
Trump’s new nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, also does not believe birth control should be free. Price is opposed to free birth control and denies that there are women who struggle to pay for contraceptives. He supported the Blackburn Amendment to HJ Resolution 59, which allowed insurers to not cover preventive services for women including birth control without cost sharing on moral or religious opposition.
Price also introduced a bill that would bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family-planning funding.
The Trump administration might bring in new changes that could potentially jeopardize women obtaining affordable health care. Campaigns like #ThxBirthControl matter because it gives a voice to women whose protection may be silenced by a new President-elect. Overall, affordable healthcare coverage for women should not be a partisan issue. One way we can combat these issues is by donating to important organizations like Planned Parenthood and continuing to speak up for each other.
What do you think of the “Heartbeat Bill” in Ohio? Do you think #ThxBirthControl is a step in continuing to provide affordable healthcare for women? Tweet @issabasco.