In early October, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new rules that would allow employers and universities to deny access to no-copay, no-deductible birth control – on the basis of religious objection – forcing many women, gender non-conforming, and trans folks to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. The Trump Administration is playing politics with our healthcare, our bodies, and our lives, and we will not tolerate it.
You have less than a week to submit a comment – they are due December 5th! Join us in telling this administration: Our bodies belong to us.
Amplify feminist voices by …
- Taking five minutes to write your own comment.
- Spending 10 minutes at your feminist group’s meeting crafting and submitting comments.
- Encouraging your roommates and friends to write comments too!
Your comment can be short – just a few sentences!
- Copy and paste other peoples’ comments. This administration has been lumping the same comments together and counting them as one. That means that if 50 students write comments that are all identical, they will only be counted as a single comment.
- Be deterred from submitting your comment. HHS is intentionally trying to deter people from submitting comments by having separate comment drives: one for the moral objection rule and one for the religious objection rule. Do not let them get away with this. You only need to write one comment – just make sure you submit it to both drives!
Once you have your comment ready, make your voice heard here:
Moral Exemption Comment Drive
Religious Exemption Comment Drive
After following each link, the button to comment is in the upper right hand corner.
- Address your comment to Acting Secretary Hargan and/or Administrator Verma.
- Start by stating your stance on the rules, and include your ask:
- “I am writing in opposition of”
- “I ask that you rescind”
- “I urge you to repeal”
- Include why these rules will be harmful on a broad scale. Consider including facts and figures like these:
- Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 62 million women have insurance coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs.
- 58% of birth control pill users cited non-contraceptive health benefits as reasons for using the pill.
- 1 in 3 women reported that they would only be able to afford birth control if it was $10 or less each month.
- 70% of Americans believe that access to affordable health care benefits their communities.
- 72% of Americans believe birth control benefits families and their financial abilities.
- The above stats (and more!) can be found here:
- Share your story. Why is this relevant to you as a student? Why are you angry? How will this affect you?
Wondering what this looks like? Here’s a sample comment!
(Again, yours doesn’t need to be this long.)
Dear Acting Secretary Hargan and Administrator Verma:
I am writing to urge the Department of Health and Human Services to rescind the harmful and discriminatory interim final rules released on October 6, 2017, which allow employers, universities, and insurers to deny birth control coverage if they claim a religious or moral objection.
Everyone, no matter where they work or go to school, deserves access to healthcare without discrimination. Yet, these rules clearly allow employers, universities, and insurers to impose their self-proclaimed religious and/or moral beliefs on their employees, students, and their families in order to deny women basic healthcare—healthcare to which they have a legal right under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Not only are these rules discriminatory, they are harmful. Birth control is a critical component of freedom for countless women, gender non-conforming and transgender people. It has prevented and delayed pregnancies, allowing them to pursue educational opportunities, better plan their futures, advance in their careers, and achieve their desired family size. Birth control has also helped manage certain medical conditions such as endometriosis, acne, and painful menstrual cramps.
This is also an issue of economic and educational justice for students. For millions of college students, these rules will add on a substantial financial burden. In fact, they might force students to choose between paying for educational resources and professional opportunities, or paying for basic health care. This administration has asserted all birth control users would be able to pay out of pocket for contraception, but this is simply not the case. In fact, 1 in 3 women reported that they would only be able to afford birth control if it was $10 or less each month.
Increasing access to birth control allows women, gender non-conforming and transgender people—not their bosses, their schools, or the government—to determine their healthcare needs. I therefore urge you to rescind these interim final rules that would result in the loss of seamless access to affordable birth control coverage.
When you’re ready to submit, head here and here!
I am in awe, to say that least, that in 2017 we are still struggling with the concept that a woman’s body and her healthcare choices are just that, HERS AND HERS ALONE. Please do not impose your religous beliefs on me, or any individual for that matter. Let us remember the conerstone of our amazing nation is the freedom to choose; this includes the freedom to choose which, if any, religious beliefs one subscribes to. We all have the right to access affordable birth control coverage.
Access to birth control means that women have control of their own lives. Without it, we are at the mercy of religious fundamentalists. Please don’t let our democracy fail is such a preventable fashion.
Denying Birth Control to female employees is un-Democratic! Many women use birth control for female illnesses. It is a woman’s right to use medication and by not having it as a part of their insurance is DISCRIMINATION! This should NOT be permitted by any business for any reason!
Democracy is contingent on women having control of their reproductive lives.