Planned Parenthood Massachusetts CEO: ‘We Will Never Back Down’
Almost as soon as the country learned Donald Trump would become its 45th president, talk of birth control trickled onto social media, steadily picking up steam until it became a flood.
Fearing that a Trump administration, which looks likely to repeal the Affordable Care Act, could potentially bar access to free contraception, pull funding for Planned Parenthood, and appoint Supreme Court justices who may overturn Roe v. Wade, women—and media outlets—began recommending intrauterine devices (IUDs), which last between three and 10 years, while they’re covered under the ACA.
Get your IUD. If you have light periods, opt for a Paragard, which can last 10-12 years. Get your birth control that will outlast Trump.
— grimalkin (@grimalkinrn) November 9, 2016
Women: do this now before you lose the right to your own body. https://t.co/7d6wGfAHmh
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) November 9, 2016
it's terrifying that as women we need to consider getting a birth control that will last past trumps term
— Alexa Losey (@alexalosey) November 9, 2016
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) confirms that its health centers have seen a uptick in requests for IUDs since the election. Still, Jennifer Childs-Roshak, CEO of PPLM and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, stresses that the organization isn’t going anywhere, no matter what happens come January.
“While we truly hope that birth control methods will be available, accessible, and affordable to all women under the Trump administration, we understand people’s real concerns about losing access to birth control,” she says. “It is more important than ever that we make Massachusetts a national leader in healthcare and equal rights.”
Even before the election, demand for IUDs at Planned Parenthood had risen by 91 percent over the past five years, Childs-Roshak notes. She adds that local health centers may be able to provide the devices to walk-in patients, and on weekends and evenings. Planned Parenthood also takes various insurance plans and offers a “sliding pay scale” for uninsured patients, she says.
Despite the strength of the current movement, however, IUDs aren’t right for all women. Some women may need protection now, but want children soon and don’t want to deal with removal. Some women may fear side effects. Some women may plain not want one.
“Birth control methods are not one-size-fits-all,” Childs-Roshak says. “A method that’s perfect for one woman may not be right for another.”
If you’ve decided to pursue getting an IUD, it’s still crucial to research, and talk to your care provider about, which is best for you. You’ll first need to choose between copper IUDs, which alter sperm movement enough to avoid fertilization, and hormonal IUDs, which release progestin to prevent pregnancy. If you decide to go the hormonal route, you’ll next choose between four FDA-approved devices. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has a nice breakdown here.
Even if an IUD isn’t in the cards, Childs-Roshak emphasizes that Planned Parenthood, in Massachusetts and across the country, will keep fighting for healthcare access.
“Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years and one thing is clear,” she says. “We will never back down, and we will never stop providing the care our patients need.”