Many women are worried about the future of access to birth control and abortion under a Donald Trump presidency. His campaign has spoken of plans to repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood and potentially overturn the critical Supreme Court abortion case Roe v. Wade.
Before the election, Trump published his “First 100 Days Plan” which included a motion to repeal and replace Obamacare, the universal health care legislation President Barack Obama enacted in 2010. Under Obamacare, health insurance plans have to cover contraceptive methods and counseling for all women as prescribed by a healthcare provider.
In a post-election interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said he would consider leaving certain parts of Obamacare intact. However, he’s made no comment on whether or not birth control will remain covered by insurance under his new plan.
If birth control is no longer covered under Trump, many women whose health insurance currently covers their contraceptives will no longer have access to them.
Psychology junior Lucy McNeil has been on the birth control pill for 9 months under Obamacare.
“I know there have been a lot of complaints about the affordability of Obamacare, but I’m screwed without it,” McNeil said. “Paying for birth control out of my own pocket would definitely take a toll on its availability to me.”
McNeil went to Planned Parenthood to get birth control last year. Visiting Planned Parenthood was a smooth and easy process, according to McNeil, but Trump has voiced his disdain of federal funding for the reproductive health care provider.
Trump said he “wouldn’t fund Planned Parenthood as long as abortion is happening” during a speech in March.
Planned Parenthood receives approximately $500 million annually. About 43 percent of their total budget comes from the federal government according to their 2014-2015 annual report. This money covers STD screenings and treatments, birth control, sexual education and other forms of preventative health care. Abortion makes up three percent of health care that occurs at Planned Parenthood, according to the report.
If Trump defunds the organization, it would have a severe impact on women across the country, McNeil said.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement after the election in which she emphasized that people from every background— immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people of faith and more—will continue to get the support and medical care they need.
“Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years, and one thing is clear: we will never back down and we will never stop fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood patients have access to the care they need,” Richards said. “Healthcare should not be political.”
Kristin Sanders, English lecturer and Planned Parenthood volunteer and advocate, used Planned Parenthood facilities while in graduate school after being denied health insurance coverage for a pre-existing condition of HPV.
It’s currently illegal under Obamacare to be denied insurance based on a pre-existing condition, a policy that Trump said he would consider keeping when repealing and replacing Obamacare, according to the post-election interview with The Wall Street Journal.
However, that was not the case when Sanders was in graduate school. She felt so moved after her interactions with Planned Parenthood that she decided to go public about her positive experiences. She’s been volunteering with the organization ever since.
“I have loved every experience I’ve had as a Planned Parenthood patient,” Sanders said. “For me, Planned Parenthood is a place where I can get affordable, non-judgmental, queer and trans-inclusive health care.”
The thought of Planned Parenthood losing funding leaves Sanders worried for those who need their services, including access to STI testing, health screenings, birth control and family planning.
“Planned Parenthood is such a positive force in our communities,” Sanders said. “I believe they’re doing important work for people of all genders.”
Another item on Trump’s “First 100 Days Plan” is to fill the empty seat left by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with someone equally conservative. However, replacing Judge Scalia’s seat with another conservative justice won’t dramatically change the makeup of the Supreme Court.
Jennifer Denbow, a political science assistant professor who specializes in reproductive law and politics, said that an overturn of Roe v. Wade only starts to become a likely threat if additional seats become available in the Supreme Court within the next four years.
“Courts are passive entities, so the Supreme Court would have to wait for a case to be brought to them to rule on,” Denbow said. “Pro-life legal organizations would then have the opportunity to bring a test case—a case to explicitly overturn a ruling the particular group is against—to court.”
If a test case was brought to court with multiple new right-leaning justices, Roe v. Wade may be overturned, Denbow said. In that case, it would be up to individual states to decide.
“Even if Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortion rights would then become a state issue,” Denbow said. “So in California it’s unlikely that abortion would be illegal, but in a lot of states it would be.”
Denbow urges young adults to counter the defeatist attitude she’s seen some students express in her classes. If people organize and push their state legislators, it could mean potentially funding organizations like Planned Parenthood on a state-level even if federal funding is cut off, she said.