The Trump Administration’s War on Contraception

The Trump Administration’s War on Contraception October 22, 2017

Not content merely to reverse the Obama administration’s mandate that all health insurance policies cover birth control, the Trump administration has a wish list of policies that comprise a full-scale war against access to contraception. The documents showing this were leaked to Crooked Media.

These same officials are convinced that the World Health Organization is a “corrupt, hostile bureaucracy that achieves no actual [public health] capacity in countries.”

And they hope to halve federal funding for Title X, the grant program that provides family planning and prevention services to the poor, and divert the money into programs to promote “fertility awareness” methods of birth control—popular among socially conservative contraception foes—which fail annually for a quarter of couples.

Members of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council (DPC) transmitted these and other priorities and concerns, as part of their longer wish list, to the Office of Management and Budget, seeking their inclusion in the budget the president will submit to Congress next year, according to a source who provided the memo to Crooked Media…

Each of the document’s repeated references to fertility awareness, including as a preferred remedy for teenage pregnancy, can be found in subsections that identify DPC staffers Katy Talento and Alexandra Campau as points of contact for OMB officials. Talento, a former adviser to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), attracted the attention of the health news service STAT earlier this year, after Trump selected her to help shape the administration’s health policy, for expressing “strong rhetoric against birth control and abortion.”

In a January 2015 article for the right wing website The Federalist, Talento suggested that “chemical birth control” is “causing miscarriages of already-conceived children,” and, “breaking your uterus for good.”

Fertility awareness methods—including the so-called “rhythm method”—are birth control alternatives popular among social conservatives, who advance dubious claims that prescription contraception is abortifacient. These methods, by which women seek to avoid pregnancy by tracking ovulation, are “about 76% effective,” meaning “24 out of 100 couples who use FAMS will have a pregnancy each year,” according to Planned Parenthood.

One of the reasons this is happening during a Trump administration and didn’t happen during, say, the Bush 43 administration (despite support for abstinence-only sex ed) is that Trump has been largely unable to attract mainstream Republicans to serve in his administration. This has been most notable when it comes to foreign policy and the State Department, but it’s been true of other areas as well.

This is also one of the big reasons why the Christian right supports Trump so strongly even though he couldn’t really care less about religion. Part of is is that they’re hopelessly naive, but not all of them. Some of them also recognize that because he can’t get mainstream Republicans to serve, they can fill the void with their own people and get priority for their agenda. And that’s why we’re seeing this kind of thing happening, because Trump has named a bunch of fringe figures to positions of policymaking authority.

And as I’ve said many times, the real target of the hardcore anti-choice types is not abortion, it’s birth control. And that’s what they’re going after now, in every way they can think of.

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