Roughly one in four teen girls become pregnant at least once by age 20 and fully half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported by women themselves as unplanned. Not too good.

By posting some intemperate thoughts about sex, love, relationships, pregnancy, childbearing, the media, public policy, our dogs, and other topics, we hope to spark a two-way discussion about how best to bring down the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in this country. And who knows…from time to time, we might even offer up a few cogent thoughts that will be helpful.

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20-Somethings, Bedsider, Contraception, Thanks, Birth Control
October 19, 2017

Social media is buzzing with news that our current Administration has given U.S. employers and insurers power to deny women birth control coverage based on moral and religious objections. Any employer—including private universities that offer student health plans—can stop offering coverage for some or all methods of contraception if they object for moral or religious reasons. 

Since most of us pay for insurance plans with our employers, this is kind of a big deal. These new rules mean you’ll continue to pay your premium plus all costs for your birth control method if your employer has objections. Without coverage, the pill can cost up to $113 a month, and an IUD can cost up to $800. 

 

How did we get here? 

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), birth control is one of several preventive services for women. This means insurance plans are required to cover all FDA-approved birth control methods with no additional out-of-pocket costs (like copays).  

 

Churches and other houses of worship were exempt from this requirement, but religious nonprofits and certain for-profit businesses who objected got a compromise called an accommodation. This accommodation allowed them to opt out of paying for birth control while ensuring their employees still got birth control coverage without copays. The accommodation seemed awesome for everyone involved, but many religious institutions still objected. 

 

So what changed? 

On October 6, 2017, new regulations made it easy for almost any employer to opt out of providing birth control coverage based on religious or moral objections. No one is sure how many employers are going to take advantage of these exemptions. The employers that were using the accommodation may switch to exemptions, and employers that previously had not objected could now get an exemption. Others may decide to cover some but not all of birth control methods. No matter how many people are affected, one thing is clear: this will make birth control even less accessible.  

 

What does this mean for your coverage? 

It’s hard to predict how many employers will choose not to cover some or all methods of contraception. But if you live in California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New York, or Oregon then you’re in luck. These states have laws protecting the requirement to cover birth control at no copay. Other states have laws requiring insurance plans to cover at least some methods, but these laws can have religious exemptions as well. If you suspect you’re in danger of losing birth control coverage, you’ll want to look out for any messages from your insurance provider that mention changes in your coverage. You can also call your insurance company directly and ask if these new rules will affect your plan. The regulations are effective immediately, but your employer might not take advantage right away. You’ll want to follow up with your insurance company more than once. If you’ve been on the fence about getting a long-term method like an IUD, now might be the time to consider it.  

 

If you’re currently paying out-of-pocket costs for birth control, contact CoverHer, a service run by the National Women’s Law Center to ensure that you’re not paying unnecessary contraceptive costs. 

 

Even if you’re not in danger of losing coverage, lend your voice to the fight because everyone deserves access to the most effective forms of birth control. 

 

What can we do to fight this? 

Here’s the good news: all new rules have something called a comment period where you can formally share your concerns. As several states and organizations gear up to fight this on legal grounds, lending your voice via public comment is super important because it bolsters the argument that these new rules are bad for women’s health. Legal teams will have evidence that real people are against these regulations.  

Registering a comment is a bit complicated, but we’ve teamed up with KeepBCFree.com to make it easy for you. You can do it in less than 5 minutes. The comment period runs through December 5, 2017. Be sure to get your friends to comment too. 

 

It’s going to take all of our voices to make sure birth control remains accessible for all. For even more ways to get involved, check out The National Campaign’s activation toolkit. And remember to join us for Thanks, Birth Control Day on November 15th. We’ll use the hashtag #thxbirthcontrol to join the conversation online (and IRL) about what birth control makes possible for women everywhere. 

Other Recent Posts

October 16, 2017
Authored by: Ginny Ehrlich

Ginny Ehrlich is the chief executive officer at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Prior to taking the helm at the National Campaign, Ginny directed the childhood obesity prevention portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and led the Foundation’s efforts to establish a strategic direction for its $500 million investment in ensuring that all children achieve a healthy weight by 2025. Previously, Ginny spent eight years at the Clinton Foundation, where she served as the Founding CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and the long-time CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. During her tenure at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Ginny positioned the organization as a national leader on preventing childhood obesity and started the nation’s largest school-based obesity prevention program. Ginny started her career in the classroom as a health and sexuality educator, and has held several state and national leadership positions.

Ginny has dedicated her more than 20-year career to improving the health and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and families. Known for her abilities to build organizational strategic vision and foster partnerships of great purpose across the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Ginny was recognized in 2012 by Health Leaders as one of the nation’s top change agents in the health sector. Ginny has a breadth of experience working with businesses, community organizations, policymakers, schools, and government officials on a wide variety of social welfare issues.

Ginny holds a doctorate of education in education leadership and a Master of Science in Special Education, both from the University of Oregon, a Master of Public Health from Boston University and a BA in Community Health Education, from the University of Oregon. She lives in Washington, DC; she is an avid tennis player and runner.

Recently there was a breakthrough on Capitol Hill—bi-partisan agreement.  On Sept. 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 29-2 to pass a Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill for FY 2018 that maintained funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP)...
Federal Funding, Public Policy, State and Local
October 11, 2017
 Some bumps in life are unexpected. Tune in to TLC on Sunday, November 12th at 10/9c for the premiere of Unexpected, a new series following the journey of three pregnant teen couples and the parents who raised them.Here's who you'll meet:Lexus, 15, is 38-weeks pregnant and expecting a baby girl...
Media, Popular Culture, Teen Pregnancy, Teens, Unplanned Pregnancy
September 07, 2017
Authored by: Liany Elba Arroyo

Liany Elba Arroyo is the Senior Director of Health Equity at The National Campaign where she works to ensure an equity lens is applied to the organization’s work.  Previously she had served as the Director of Partnerships where she oversaw the development of programs and the dissemination of messages and resources tailored for the Latino and African American communities. 

Prior to coming to The National Campaign, Liany spent over 13 years working in the government and non-profit sectors developing programs and promoting public policies that aimed to improve the health status of Latino communities across the nation. Most recently, Liany was the Associate Director of the Education and Children’s Policy Project at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she worked on advancing NCLR’s education priorities and policies affecting Latino children and youth. Liany has published several pieces on children and Latino health and has been cited by Spanish and English media, including The New York Times, Newsweek, and Univision.

Originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut, Liany currently resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and daughter. She holds a BS in psychology from Wellesley College, an MPH from Columbia University, and is Certified in Public Health.

 

 

Liany Arroyo, Directora Senior de la Equidad de la Salud, habló con La Red Hispana y la Dra. Isabel sobre la Campaña Nacional para Prevenir los Embarazos Adolescentes y No Planificados y sobre lo que los padres pueden hacer para asegurar un mejor futuro para sus hijos. 
Contraception, Latino Initiative, Parents, Teen Pregnancy, Teens, Unplanned Pregnancy, Virginity