Doctors Report Uptick in IUDs Post-Election
President-elect Donald Trump pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act throughout his campaign. That pledge would particularly affect women who rely on Obamacare for access to affordable birth control. Since the election, doctors have reported a significant uptick in the number of women seeking long-term forms of contraception, particularly the intrauterine device, or IUD. Rebecca Scott reports.
Laura Benson is an actor from California who gets her insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The day after the election, Benson says she scheduled an appointment for an IUD as a precaution.
BENSON 1: If I weren’t sitting in the space of reflection of actually being quite afraid that my reproductive rights might be taken away in the next few years, I wouldn’t get it inserted and I would continue to use condoms. (0:15)
This won’t be the first time Benson will get an IUD. She had her first one taken out after experiencing mood swings and hair thinning. But, she says, the health risks of hormonal contraception don’t worry her as much as the thought of having to carry an accidental pregnancy to term. Benson says she’s always taken access to emergency contraception like Plan B for granted – until now.
BENSON 2: This is definitely the first time it’s landed for me that, oh, people don’t want me to be in control of my body. (0:05)
Benson is one of many women who have made a reproductive plan of action in the wake of Trump’s win. Julia Huff, a gynecologist at NYU-Langone, says the trend is unmistakable.
HUFF 1: Pretty much every new group of women that I’ve found myself in in the last month, as soon as someone finds out what I do for a living, the entire conversation goes to IUDs. Without fail. (0:10)
Huff says that within two days of the election there was a noticeable increase in the number of IUDs she was ordering each day. And that’s not all. 7
HUFF 2: I’m noticing that women who are asking about IUDs and for more information on them are the ones who are on the plans that are at risk. Women who are on private insurance who it’s not as on their radar that they might fully lose their insurance don’t seem as concerned at this particular moment. (0:23)
Rhonda Kolaric is a medical student who is also reliant on Obamacare for her birth control. She had a Paragard IUD inserted three and a half years ago. The Paragard is supposed to last up to ten years but she made an appointment to get hers replaced next month. I met her at a bar near her apartment in Williamsburg to discuss her decision.
KOLARIC 1: I wouldn’t have gotten the IUD replaced if Hillary had won because I don’t think women’s reproductive rights would’ve gone under fire in this way. And I’m particularly concerned about Pence’s way of thinking and the general Republican way of thinking where they’re not considering science ever, they don’t really know how anything works. (0:09)
Kolaric is getting a new Paragard seven years sooner than necessary because she’s afraid of what the next four to eight years will mean for her reproductive rights. She’s not sure the Paragard will still be free by the time the current one expires.
KOLARIC 2: Without insurance, it’s like 6 or 700 dollars for the insertion. (0:04)
Some Republicans, like Mike Pence, believe this type of IUD causes spontaneous abortion. Julia Huff says that isn’t how it works but that misconceptions such as this may put women’s access to birth control at risk.
HUFF 3: Yeah, one of my biggest concerns watching the election results come in was what’s going to happen to reproductive care and women’s access to medical care in general. I think everyone is very on edge and waiting to see what happens because we just don’t know. 0:16)
Until then, Huff says she’ll continue to recommend long-term contraception to any sexually active woman who doesn’t want to get pregnant within the next year.
Rebecca Scott, Columbia Radio News.