Women, arm yourselves with IUD’s

Kali Persall,
Managing Editor

With Donald Trump now officially the president of the United States, and women’s reproductive rights on the chopping block, one thing is for certain: I will be getting that precautionary IUD birth control method before it’s too late.

On Monday, just one day after the 44th anniversary of landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the U.S. in 1973, the Trump administration reinstated the Mexico City Policy, a Reagan-era “global gag rule” that bans U.S. federal funding from going to international nongovernmental organizations that provide abortions.

This includes the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which provides family planning services such as counseling, contraceptives and abortion.

Marie Stopes International, a nongovernmental organization that provides contraceptives and performs abortions in 37 countries, estimates that the absence of their services could cause 6.5 million unwanted pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions, 2.1 million unsafe abortions, and 21,700 maternal deaths. The Mexico City Policy prevents the organization from offering 1.5 million women contraceptives annually between 2017 and 2020.

The statistics were calculated using the organization’s peer-reviewed “Impact 2 Model,” a report that quantifies the impact of the organization’s work. Whether or not non-U.S. funds are used for the abortions themselves, if the organization promotes abortion as a method of family planning, it will not qualify for any federal funding, CNN reported on Tuesday. Before Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, these organizations received a small portion of federal funding as providers of abortion services.

The policy has been repeatedly rescinded by Democrats and reinstated by Republicans, depending on which party holds office, since Bill Clinton first scrapped it in 1993.

We’ve all known this was coming. In preparation for an imminent attack on Planned Parenthood, women like me are scrambling to get our hands on affordable, long-term birth control methods like IUD’s, or Intrauterine Devices, akin to doomsday “preppers” who hunker down with boxes of freeze-dried foods in their basements.

The IUD, a flexible T-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted into the uterus, is over 99 percent effective and can last up to 12 years, according to Planned Parenthood. There are currently five different brands on the market which can be divided into two types: copper and hormonal.

The Paragard IUD is wrapped in copper and works as a spermicide to prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years. Mirena, Skyla and Kyleena, hormonal contraceptive brands, contain the synthetic hormone progestin, which causes changes in the uterus to prevent ovulation and cause the mucus lining to thicken and trap sperm. These methods can last for six, five and three years respectively, according to Planned Parenthood.

As effective as IUD’s are, at $1,000 a pop, they can break the bank. Even as a working college student, I could never afford one without Planned Parenthood, which is why women need organizations like these to help offset the costs.

I’ve been hesitant to get an IUD because of the possible side effects, which include cramping and heavy bleeding that can last anywhere from three to six months, according to Planned Parenthood. However, at least it’s always been an option.

If the Mexico City Policy is any indication of the direction women’s reproductive rights are moving in under the Trump administration, the discomfort of getting an IUD is worth the risk. My IUD will outlast Trump’s presidency.

Falsified videos depicting Planned Parenthood employees selling aborted fetus body parts were created by the right wing anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress. Since these videos went viral in 2015, the abortion debate has skyrocketed to the top of the Republican agenda, according to news reports.

Trump’s actions are the initiatives that anti-choice proponents have been waiting for. The Planned Parenthood videos convinced many religious, an- ti-abortion groups that organizations like Planned Parenthood are using their tax dollars to fund services they feel strongly against. Trump has been hailed as a pro-life champion for his advocacy of the unborn by numerous pro-life supporters, such as LifeNews.com

“American taxpayer dollars have many good uses, but paying for elective abortions overseas is not and never has been one of them,” said Steven H. Aden, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian nonprofit that advocates for a number of religious issues, in a Monday statement. “The International Planned Parenthood Federation and other groups that promote abortions outside of the U.S. shouldn’t be allowed to profit from taking lives with American money anywhere, especially in light of their documented abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Alliance Defending Freedom contends that Planned Parenthood is a “profitable abortionist” that has committed “massive fraud, waste and abuse,” evidenced through 50 public audits.

Trump has also notoriously been on the wrong side of women’s rights throughout much of his campaign, and even suggested that women should receive “some form of punishment” for having an abortion, during a forum with Chris Matthews on MSNBC in March 2016. He later retracted his remarks, and clarified that doctors who perform these services should be held legally responsible, according to the New York Times.

Approximately 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are devoted to STD testing, 34 percent contraception, 11 percent go to other women’s health services, 10 percent are dedicated to cancer screening and prevention, one percent goes to other services and only three percent are dedicated to abortion, according to Planned Parenthood.

Defunding an organization that dedicates the majority of its services to preventing pregnancy is counterproductive, especially when abortions aren’t federally funded at all.

The Hyde Amendment has prohibited federal funds from being used for abortions since 1976, except in cases of rape, incest or if a woman suffers from a life-threatening illness.

This could become permanent under the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, which was proposed on Jan. 13 and is awaiting a final vote by the House of Representatives.

Trump is also making good on his promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which could affect affordable birth control options as it currently requires insurance companies to provide free access to contraception, according to the Huffington Post. Last Friday, Trump signed an executive order to remove penalties inflicted by the program, pending the program’s repeal.

It took less than a week in office for Trump to set women back 50 years: in 2017, the only thing more difficult to get than birth control will be an abortion.

Ladies, it’s time to batten down the hatches because we’re in for a long four years. The only thing that belongs in my uterus is an IUD, not policy.