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The Voice

Trump mandate affects women’s healthcare

     After recent changes Trump has made with allowing employers to opt out of providing women with birth control coverage because of “religious beliefs,” a lot of questions have been raised as to how “religious freedom” really works in America. Under Obama, there were 18 methods of contraception that were required to be covered by employers. Places of worship and religious nonprofits were exempt from this law (CNN). Now, any employer is allowed to refrain from providing birth control coverage to their employees for this “religious freedom.”

     As we have seen throughout history, giving certain rights or freedoms to one group of people can limit the rights and choices of others. Americans have the privilege of practicing their own religion, but that does not mean that Americans also have the privilege of imposing their religious beliefs on other people. That defeats the whole purpose of having freedom of religion. America has always been praised for having freedom for all, but that never included the extra privileges that religious groups have now been given.

     Americans have the right to practice any religion, or no religion at all. So why should it be acceptable for employers to force their religious practices on current and future employees? If employers are allowed to be exempt from providing birth control coverage, couldn’t this also open up a whole new can of worms about other “religious freedoms”? Where do we draw the line? Will employers soon be able to discriminate against people who identify with the LGBTQ community? Or people who are divorced? Where is the freedom in that?

      Depending on the coverage that one has, birth control can cost up to $50 a month, and the IUD process (exam, insertion, and consultations) can cost up to $1,000 (plannedparenthood.org). Unfortunately, the GOP has taken funding away from Planned Parenthood. The government is limiting the options of women, especially women with low income. The results of these new mandates might even increase the rate of abortions or unplanned pregnancies in the U.S.

     Donald Trump himself has very strong opinions about religious freedoms. He even stated, “America has a rich tradition of social change beginning in our pews and pulpits” (CNN). He also said, “We are giving our churches their voices back and we are giving them back in the highest form” (CNN). In his statements, it is obvious that when Trump thinks about giving voices to religious institutions, he really only cares about the Christian ones. He surely did not mention the mosque, the synagogue, or any other religious institutions in his statements. What is the point of talking about religious freedom if you are only going to talk about the rights of one specific religion?

     It is obvious that Trump and the White House are not well informed about women’s reproductive health. Birth control does not just serve one purpose, but multiple. PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and general menstrual regulation are other conditions that contraceptives are used for. Sometimes young girls are recommended birth control by their physicians because of other complications.

      Now, it looks like the GOP has infiltrated our doctor’s offices and pharmacies, as well as our places of employment to let us know what women don’t need since some people might believe it’s immoral.

     Women’s health has once again been compromised because some small groups of people believe women shouldn’t have coverage for a wide array of reproductive health. This gets the government, as well as employers, more involved with women’s private lives, which is ridiculous. There are other serious health-related issues that require women to be put on contraceptives, but everyone’s minds immediately go to prevention of unplanned pregnancies which could infringe on the religious beliefs of others.

Chloe is a senior Anthropology and German major. She is the BU Democrats Communications Coordinator and German Club Secretary. She is the Asst. Op/Ed Editor for The Voice

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