Supreme Court Decision On Birth Control Is The Worst Ever. Know Why!
If you thought the Supreme Court decision on birth control is disturbing and objectionable, take our words – it is the worst ever. It’s been a month since the Supreme Court ruled 7-to-2 to allow employers to cite objections on moral and religious grounds to deny access to insurance coverage for birth control to their employees.
The final decision of the Supreme Court came as a part of the ongoing legal battle of this decade. During the Obama administration, sparks flew when a narrow exemption was carved out from the birth control mandate for houses of worship. However, non-profits affiliated with religious organizations like schools and hospitals were not mentioned anywhere in the exemption list.
These organizations had to apply for an exemption. Post that, the government or the health insurer were supposed to pick up the bills for employees’ birth control. In 2014, the right was extended by the Supreme Court to certain non-profit corporations as well.
With the new rule declared by the Supreme Court on 8th July 2020, an order of Catholic nuns named the Little Sisters of the Poor raised a concern that even after applying for an exemption would violate the religious beliefs by making them complicit in moral transgressions.
As per the Supreme Court’s judgment by Justice Clarence Thomas, The Affordable Care Act allows the Department of Health & Human Services “virtually unbridled discretion to decide what counts as preventive care and screenings,” and similarly broad discretion to “identify and create exemptions from its own guidelines.”
He further added that if the lawmakers who passed the Act wanted to ensure coverage of contraception, they could have enshrined it as preventive care in the legislation, which they apparently failed to do.
The good, the bad, or the worst? Weighing Supreme Court’s decision on birth control
While Justice Thomas declared his judgment, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her dissenting opinion, “This Court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer’s insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets.” It clearly hints at the possibilities that between 70,500 and 126,400 women of childbearing age will lose coverage if the rule is thoroughly acted upon.
Do you see now why the rule is utterly wrong? To begin with, it is a human right to get access to reproductive healthcare. Moreover, even if birth control is solely dedicated to pregnancy prevention, it should be accessibly provided under all employer health insurance plans. Additionally, every employee must get access to the same, no matter what her income level is. Keeping all these in mind, one can’t shrug off birth control as solely a pregnancy prevention measure.
There are millions of women for whom birth control has been a blessing and a life-altering form of healthcare. That includes the positive and healthy effects that hormonal birth controls can have, including something familiar like cramps, heavy and prolonged periods, and PMS like chronic migraines.
To keep it noted, there is much more use of birth control than just for pregnancy prevention. Many women opt for birth controls exclusively to regulate heavy, painful, and/or irregular periods. For many of them, birth control is their only rescue from the unbearable side effects of menstruation. Many young women are prescribed birth control. And they are surprised to learn that painful menstrual side effects actually exist as something dangerous.
These words come straight from the horses’ mouth. Here’s what some women tell us about their personal experience with birth control:
Women share their experience about birth control
According to Carol Ann from Alabama on Twitter, “I was prescribed birth control when I was fifteen for painful periods. It was debilitating. I would miss school, throw up constantly, and just sit there and wonder if I was dying. Two years ago a doctor finally believed me and we found out I had endometriosis … [birth control] is now prescribed so I don’t have to pay for the endo[metriosis] medicine and [it] keeps me pain free.“
Suzanne from Long Beach, NY, narrates her story: “I take hormonal birth control because I carry a BRCA1 mutation, which significantly increases my risk for ovarian cancer. Hormonal birth control is one of the few things scientists believe stave[s] off the disease, so I’ll stay on it until I have risk-reducing surgery in a few years.”
Now, look at the bigger picture. Carol and Suzanne are not the only ones for whom birth control has been a boon. For several others like these two, the court’s ruling would compel employers to withdraw insurance coverage of cancer-preventing medication to their employees. And this certainly doesn’t depend on the employers’ (or the employees’) wish at all!
The stark reality
It might seem like the decision of the Supreme Court is new. But are not people already losing insurance coverage? Many people are paying out of pocket for the treatments and birth control because their insurance never really covered it.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a common disorder in which millions of women suffer from heavy menstrual flow, long durations of menstrual cycles, and hellish cramps. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision, many women would be forced to pay out of pocket or completely forgo their prescriptions for the PCOS treatment. And those who can’t bear the treatment costs would have to live life-long with these health issues. Not just that, the increased risk of ovarian cancer is also not ruled out. Isn’t that scary?
Birth controls are not confined to just women. Several non-binary people and trans men are also prescribed birth control. Needless to say, how challenging an unplanned pregnancy can be. It’s not easy for any woman to miss work due to menstrual health issues. Think of a schoolgirl, whose parents can’t pay for the regular birth control prescribed to her for period cramps. She might have to miss her classes every month – all thanks to the new rule.
The bottom line Is the ugliest
Birth control is an ideal solution for many uncommon medical concerns. Birth control used to be a big relief for all regardless of the religious beliefs of their employers. It used to be free or inexpensive and easily accessible for everyone. Till the Supreme Court declared its decision last month.
And now that the decision has been made, it would put a big question mark on the quality of healthcare and life of every single woman who might be dependent on birth control. Reproductive healthcare is under item now, including the one that inevitably lowers the risk of cancer, makes debilitating cramps a little more bearable, and overall improves the living conditions of millions of women in the country.
With the 7-to-2 vote, the Supreme Court has done nothing but handed over your healthcare rights to someone else. And this is just not done, to say the least.