Intrauterine devices are being embraced by women more and more across the country. However, such a decided step forward in women’s reproductive health could not exist without major pushback from anti-abortionists.
Since it seems anti-abortionist groups will look for any reason to stand in the way of feminine health progress, it’s honestly surprising it’s taken them this long to zero in on IUDs.
According to Planned Parenthood, copper IUDs work by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. Hormonal IUDs may even keep the egg from leaving the ovary, and the progestin released helps thicken the cervical mucus, which also works to keep sperm at bay. Doesn’t sound like there’s any killing going on during these scenarios, does it? However, on a rare occasion, IUDs actually prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, which to many is considered the moment of conception.
As such, anti-abortionist groups have begun to point fingers at IUDs for their ability to “end a life” at the moment it has begun gestating. Don’t you just love how often these groups change their minds on when it’s murder and when it’s just a prevention method?
However, they’re doing much more than complaining about it. They’re filing an amicus brief that will fly in the face of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which currently fully covers IUDs, including insertion costs. Mailee Smith, staff counsel for the Americans United for Life, stated, “The focus of these cases is that requiring any life-ending drug is in violation of the Religious Freedom Act.”
They’re essentially attempting to give religiously affiliated organizations the option to deny their employees birth control coverage. If the Supreme Court rules in their favor, women who work for such organizations could end up paying full cost for IUDs. And according to Yahoo, that could be close to 350,000 women, since 3.5 million women work for them, and more than 10 percent of women have IUDs in this country. According to the CDC, that number is growing exponentially.
Naturally Planned Parenthood is one of these groups’ prime targets in this IUD debacle. It’s a huge provider of IUDs for women without other health care options and only continues to increase how many it implants. Since 2009, its numbers have skyrocketed by a whopping 75 percent.
Sadly we’ve seen Planned Parenthood persecuted too many times for its public services in the reproductive health vein. And while you might think this case is too much of a violation of personal freedom to pass, it technically already has on a smaller scale.
Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain run by Christians, sought the same control over its employees back in 2014. It wasn’t the entire object of its suit, but it appealed to the Supreme Court for the ability to deny its employees birth control that prevented “an embryo from implanting in the womb.” The plea was actually accepted and granted all private companies that are closely controlled the right to opt out of contraceptive coverage based solely on owners’ beliefs.
So far there are seven lawsuits that have been brought by various religiously backed companies, but the ruling could apply to a hundred more. However, while it would certainly make things more complicated for female employees of these companies, it wouldn’t necessarily keep them all from getting free IUDs.
Obama let the Hobby Lobby motion pass with the caveat that such organizations that decided to deny coverage had to inform health insurers and providers first. Those insurers and providers must then accommodate for the refusal on behalf of the business owners by offering the employees in question separate contraceptive coverage directly.
But of course, some organizations are even trying to fight that exception. They’re refusing to complete the paperwork to give them the ability to deny employees coverage, because they say it still indirectly offer them coverage.
As such, it’s unlikely either side in this new string of suits will be happy with the outcome of the ruling, so we should expect to see these litigations over the controversial matter go on for quite some time.