Before the final polls had even closed on November 8, thousands of women across the nation were already making frantic appointments with their doctors and gynecologists. By the following day, Google searches for the terms “birth control,” “IUD,” and “Planned Parenthood” had spiked dramatically, and dozens of articles with titles like “Why You Should Get an IUD Right Now” were circulating on social media.
Why the sudden flurry of activity? Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act (including its provision for free birth control), defund Planned Parenthood, and nominate anti-choice Supreme Court justices that could seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. Meanwhile, running mate Mike Pence has spent much of his political career leading a crusade against basic abortion access and reproductive rights. Now that the pair are poised to take over the White House, millions of Americans are racing to take advantage of their reproductive healthcare options before Inauguration Day.
Do Portlanders need to panic? “People in Oregon will be relatively less affected because we have a progressive state government,” Michele Stranger Hunter, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon and the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health, recently told Portland Monthly. “But we absolutely will be affected. I am most fearful for our vulnerable citizens—immigrant women, people of color, lesbian and trans individuals, women seeking abortions, people suffering domestic violence.”
According to a recent New York Times article, it’s possible for Trump to remove the requirement that health insurers cover contraception without a co-payment, although the process would likely take at least a year. Even then, most insurance plans would still cover at least part of the cost of most forms of birth control. But given that Trump has also threatened to repeal the ACA, millions of Americans might lose their access altogether.
Whether or not it’s absolutely necessary to get an IUD before January 20, many folks will breathe easier knowing that if they do, their birth control needs will be taken care of for the next 3–10 years. If that’s the case, we suggest brushing up on your IUD knowledge and learning more about the common myths surrounding long-acting birth control before scheduling an appointment. Additional information and resources are also available via the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health and Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette. And as always, talk to a doctor or healthcare professional to decide which forms of birth control are best for you.