Trump’s New Rule on Birth Control Is Based on Lies

Over the last couple of years, as the whole argument over access to birth control has heated up, I’ve wanted to simply hold up this sign and sigh.

Honestly…I knew that there was still a heated debate going on in this country about abortion, but I thought we had settled the whole thing about birth control a long time ago.

The truth of the matter is that, when it comes to the facts, we did. What has propelled this topic back on the national scene is nothing but a series of lies. Today, the president signed an executive order based on those lies.

To recap, Obamacare requires health insurance plans to provide access to birth control with no deductibles or co-pays. Trump will allow businesses (profit, non-profit, religious, secular, private or publicly owned) to be exempt from that regulation based on religious or moral objections.

Conservatives who claim that birth control will still be accessible not only fail to acknowledge the fact that fewer women will be protected, they miss the larger argument that there is no factual reason for this exemption. So let’s document the lies on which it is based.

This all started when Hobby Lobby and other businesses sued to seek an exemption from providing birth control in the insurance plans they offered to employees. Many have made the convincing argument that it is a dangerous slippery slope to assume that secular businesses can be assumed to have a conscience that is violated by an infringement of religious liberty. So I won’t dwell on that particular lie.

The one that is equally disturbing to me is that, from the beginning, businesses like Hobby Lobby have been clear that their issue is not with all birth control. The claim was that their religious liberties were violated by having to cover methods that they believed were abortifacients—particularly the so-called “morning after pills” and IUDs. That is a lie, as Jen Gunter demonstrated, even if we expand the meaning of abortion beyond the medical community’s definition.

I willingly accept that individuals have moral objections to abortion (that is what the pro-choice position has always conceded). But these birth control methods are not abortifacients in that they actually prevent ovulation and do not prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine lining. In other words, they work in exactly the same way as the traditional “birth control pill.” If we are going to have a discussion about birth control (sigh), let’s at least ground it in facts and not some mythology concocted in the minds of people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

In order to justify this action, the Trump administration trotted out another lie. They suggest that the mandate to provide birth control could promote “risky sexual behavior” among some teenagers and young adults. Actual data shows that teens are having less sex, teen pregnancy rates are down and the abortion rate in the U.S. recently fell to the lowest level since Roe v. Wade.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise us that a president who has demonstrated that he is a chronic liar would institute policies based on lies. Unfortunately, that means that it’s time to start protesting this shit again.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.