“Get an IUD while you still can.” Countless tweets, articles, and social media outlets have been warning women to take control of their reproductive health while the Affordable Care Act still covers birth control options.
Google trends reports that the search term IUD spiked to its highest level two days after the election, once the reality of a Trump/Pence Presidency had finally sunk in.
Since then, I have been thinking a lot about what to make of all of this information. Articles running with variations of the title “Why You Should Get an IUD Right Now” appear almost daily, and have resulted in spikes in requests for the device at Planned Parenthood locations. Women are in crisis mode.
So let’s take a deep breath and figure out what we know.
Right now, birth control, including contraceptive pills and IUDs, are covered without copay under the Affordable Care Act. With concerns over President-elect Trump’s campaign promises to repeal the law on his first day in office and will most likely attempt to limit access to abortion, it is understandable that many women are exploring their options for long-term birth control.
When would these changes take effect? For those insured under the Affordable Care Act, any changes made to the law would not actually go into effect until January 2018, so rushing out tomorrow to get an IUD is not necessary.
However, there is a legitimate concern for those covered by Medicaid. Since Medicaid is directly related to the Federal budget, changes to it could be seen immediately, according to Cynthia Cox of the Kaiser Family Foundation. And since Medicaid impacts those most at-risk populations this move could be particularly devastating.
I reached out to Jen Ferris, Director of Reproductive Advocacy for the statewide advocacy organization, Progress North Carolina, for her thoughts on the state of panic.
“I think that we should be panicking in a long-term, calculated manner. I don’t think that come inauguration day we are going to lose our birth control,” Ferris responded.
However, Ferris continued, that “doesn’t mean it’s not at risk.”
“One of the biggest threats to our bodily autonomy as women comes through [Trump’s] staff. Most notably Mike Pence and the hardcore conservatives who have openly stated that birth control is not a part of women’s comprehensive health care.”
What can we do? “Stay alert,” says Ferris. “The time for stockpiling may come, but it is not today.”
“That being said,” she continued, “It is never a bad time to get an IUD. If it is something you are inclined towards, I would highly recommend it.”
So here it is: don’t panic. At least not yet. Stay alert. Stay vigilant. And keep fighting for our future.