The Affordable Care Act guarantees free birth control to most women
But many are uncertain about the future of the act under President Trump
Gabriella Shypula made a decision about her uterus based on President Trump.
Shypula, a recent college graduate, was happy with the birth control pill as her contraceptive of choice but started to feel nervous immediately after the election in November.
Here’s why: The Affordable Care Act guarantees free birth control to most women, including Shypula, even if a woman is not on Obamacare.
But Trump has said he wants to repeal the act, and on his very first day in office, he signed an executive order reaffirming that commitment.
Shypula, who hopes to go to graduate school in the fall, fears that if that free birth control provision goes away, she won’t be able to afford the monthly cost of birth control pills. So on February 17, she’s scheduled to get an IUD, or intrauterine device, implanted while it’s still free under Obamacare.
Her insurance will pay for it – it costs about $1,000 – and once it’s inserted, there are no costs until it’s removed.
Depending upon which type she chooses, her IUD won’t need to be removed for seven to 10 years. She rejected one type that lasts only three years.
“I want something that’s at least going to last me four years, if not longer,” she said. “I want something that’s going to outlast Trump.”
Shypula’s not alone. Since the election, the number of women trying to get into Planned Parenthood to get an IUD went up 900 percent, Cecile Richards, president of the organization, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on January 9.
Richards didn’t give the number of women who called before and after election day.
“They are desperately concerned that they might lose their access to health care,” she said.
Gabrielle Botello, a researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, moved very quickly to get an IUD. She got hers on November 11, just three days after Trump was elected.
She didn’t really want it, like Shypula, as she was happy being on the pill and concerned about the risks of implanting a device inside her body.
But Botello, 25, said she took the risk because she was scared of losing her birth control coverage.
“I didn’t want to wait another minute,” she said. “I’m angry that I felt pressured into making such an important decision.”
Trump’s nominee vague on birth control
Trump has long said that although he plans to repeal Obamacare, he does want to keep some parts of it.
Though it’s unclear how Trump feels about access to free birth control, his nominee for secretary of health and human services, Rep. Tom Price, has a strong record of being against it.
In 2011, he voted for a measure to eliminate Title X, a program that subsidizes contraception for low-income women. In 2012, he challenged whether women needed help paying for birth control.
“Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one,” Price told a reporter.
At his confirmation hearing last week, Price was asked about ensuring access to free birth control, and he answered that women should pay for it.
“I think that contraception is absolutely imperative for many, many women, and the system that we ought to have in place is one that allows women to be able to purchase the kind of contraception that they desire,” he said.
Shypula said Price’s testimony reinforces her decision to get an IUD.
“Without access to free contraception, I would not be able to afford an IUD. If I were to stay on the pill, I would likely not be able to afford it,” she said.
An awkward conversation with Dad
Shypula, who graduated last month from Rutgers University, said she didn’t make a final decision about whether to switch to the IUD until she got advice from an unlikely source: her father, Dan.
Just before she graduated, her father picked her up from the train station after school. He’d just watched a news story about the rush for IUDs and suggested that she consider making the switch before it was too late.
“Out of the blue, he asked me, ‘What do you think about IUDs?’ which is definitely a conversation that you never imagine that you would have with your dad,” she said. “The fact that he brought it up – I thought, this is really something I need to take seriously.”
Follow CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter
Her boyfriend of five years, Riley Sykes, will accompany her to the gynecologist’s appointment on February 17.
Shypula said she never would have thought that her choice of contraception would be influenced by who’s in the White House.
“I always just thought of it as something that’s personal, something that I decide for myself,” she said.
CNN’s John Bonifield contributed to this report.