Reproductive Rights

Birth Control Still Not Universally Accessible 52 Years After Griswold Decision

52 years after Griswold v. Connecticut made the use of contraception legal, reproductive choice and family planning remain in jeopardy under the Trump administration.

In 1965, the Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law that made the use of contraceptives and the provision of information about family planning illegal. The case was the first ever to identify a right to privacy in the Constitution. Although the decision applied only to contraception use between married couples, it set a precedent for reproductive choice and led the court to apply the same reasoning in making contraception use legal for unmarried people in Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972). The Griswold ruling also laid the foundation for the decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), which made abortion legal across the country. In addition to its significance for reproductive choice, the case is also widely regarded as one of the most important decisions for individual privacy rights in the Court’s history.

However, access to contraception is still not guaranteed given the current political climate. For the first time in history, the President’s proposed budget prohibits Planned Parenthood—one of the largest providers of contraception in the country—from receiving funds through Medicaid or any other program funded through Congress’s annual Labor-HHS appropriations bill. That means the organization would be barred from receiving Title X family planning funds. As a result, millions of women, students, and transgender individuals would lose access to reproductive healthcare, including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD counseling and treatment. In many areas, no other healthcare provider can absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.

Under Trump’s advisement, federal officials have also allegedly drafted a rule creating a massive religious or moral objection loophole for employers to bypass the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring health insurance plans provided to employees include contraception. In a news release, Planned Parenthood called the bill “The worst legislation for women’s health in a generation.”

Access to affordable preventative services including contraception is paramount to women’s health and economic security. Such policies that make it impossible, more difficult, and more expensive to access necessary family planning and health services directly disregard women’s bodily autonomy as well as the interests of other communities that rely on their employers and organizations like Planned Parenthood for health care services.

Media Resources: FMF 5/5/17, 5/23/17, 6/1/17; Rewire 6/8/15; Planned Parenthood Action Fund 3/21/17; Las Vegas Sun 5/15/17

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