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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Access to contraceptives is a human right

Opinion%3A+Access+to+contraceptives+is+a+human+right
By Rebecca Harrell

Women’s reproductive rights are at risk, and if you think otherwise, think again.
For the past three years, the Trump Administration has bombarded the Supreme Court of the United States, with requests to review their contraception coverage requirements. This executive action is putting thousands of young female college students at risk of losing their human right to have access to contraceptive health care.
The Trump Administration is pushing to allow employers and universities to use their religious beliefs as a way to block employees’ and students’ access to birth control. The administration believes that requiring contraception coverage may impose a “substantial burden” on the exercise of religion. This can have extreme impacts on female college students.
A doctor’s personal religious beliefs should have no place being forced onto their patient(s). A pharmacy, doctor’s office or hospital is not a church. It is not a home to house a doctor’s religious beliefs, but a place of work to support those to be healthier.
More than 99% of women aged 15-44 who have had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. Judge Patty Shwartz said 70,000-126,000 women would lose contraceptive coverage if their employers invoked their “religious exemption.”
President Trump and his single-minded followers fail to understand just how costly birth control is without insurance. The ungodly cost of contraceptives is commonly forgotten in these conversations of abolishing the ease of accessing it.
To give a slight perspective into the financial hassle of obtaining contraceptives, birth control pills are $20-50 per individual pack, with monthly purchases added up to a yearly sum of anywhere from $240-600. The Depo-Provera shot totals around $240 per year and implants cost over $800 each. Not to mention the cost of contraceptive counseling appointments with a health provider who can prescribe them.
Preventive health care options are outrageously expensive and are unaffordable without useful health insurance. The Trump administration should have the decency of keeping this in mind as it aims to undermine a woman’s right to make choices about their reproductive health.
The claimed “religious exemption,” will directly affect women attending universities. In San Marcos alone, 40.3% of women live below the poverty line. This overwhelming percentage of female residents are at risk of having their contraceptive rights taken away. As a result, women will either refuse to buy their preferred contraceptive method or fall deeper into the rabbit hole of debt.
On a grand scale 58.6 million women ages 19-64 received their health insurance from their employers in 2018. If SCOTUS decides to follow through with President Trump’s “religious exemption” many women and families would face detrimental financial consequences. Women going out of their way to change physicians to avoid being turned away is not acceptable.
Trump makes it difficult for impoverished women to have access to birth control. While women in college struggle to pay for their classes, vehicles and apartments they will have no choice but to reconsider paying absurd amounts for contraceptives.
There is no purpose of having insurance when a person is prohibited from using it.
Women on campus need to stand together and fight for their right to have complete access to insurance when it comes to purchasing contraception of any kind. No doctor should have the authority to tell a woman, much less anyone else, that they cannot have the medication they need due to their personal religious beliefs.
-Amira Van Leeuwen is a journalism sophomore

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