For people who can reproduce, the catchphrase “elections have consequences” went from cliche to concrete reality in 2022. The Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v Wade and reversed abortion rights in June may be appointed for life, but the politicians who selected and approved them were all elected by voters. How the Supreme Court decision reverberated was determined by state elections, with 26 states severely restricting abortion access (or making it outright illegal), while other states created laws to protect people seeking abortions.
If all of that has you feeling like the fight for reproductive rights is over, we have good/bad news: It’s not. Legal experts pointed out that the Supreme Court decision overturning abortion rights leaves open the possibility that state lawmakers could come for contraception next. In response, the US House of Representatives passed a national law to protect birth control access . . . but the Senate refused to bring it to a vote — meaning that your right to birth control could hang in the balance on Election Day.
What’s at Stake
What you can do: VOTE on November 8th and remember that birth control is very much on the ballot. Think we’re being dramatic? Here’s just a short list of birth control access issues that are decided, directly or indirectly, by ballots cast:
If emergency contraception will remain legal
9 states have laws or policies restricting access to emergency contraception, from preventing government funding or eliminating insurance coverage requirements for EC to specifically allowing pharmacists to decline to fill emergency contraception prescriptions or pharmacies to refuse to dispense it. Some political leaders who wrongly consider emergency contraception a type of abortion pill have expressed that they would like to outlaw it entirely.
Whether a pharmacist can refuse your prescription
12 states allow some healthcare providers to refuse to prescribe birth control, or allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense a birth control prescription if it conflicts with their beliefs. These laws are particularly harmful to people in pharmacy deserts, a term for both rural and urban areas with a shortage of pharmacies, who may find that the views of the particular pharmacist or pharmacy owner in their area prevent them from accessing this vital medication, making it that much harder to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
If your insurance plan must cover birth control
20 states and DC give some employers and insurance plans the option to decline to cover the cost of birth control if it conflicts with their beliefs.
The size of your birth control supply
This year, both Maine and New Jersey signed laws requiring health plans to pay for a 12-month supply of birth control at a time, so you can stock up and forget about it for an entire year. Wouldn’t you like your state to do the same?
If teens can access birth control
Only 23 states and DC allow minors to access contraception without meeting specific requirements. In other states teens must be married, get permission from a parent or clergy, or meet some other qualification before getting birth control.
Whether assault victims can quickly get emergency contraception
Only 15 states and DC require emergency rooms to give emergency contraception to sexual assault victims, and three states allow pharmacies to refuse to dispense EC altogether.
Source: Guttmacher Institute
Don’t Throw Away Your Vote
So it’s clear that the people holding office at both the state and federal levels have huge power over your access to contraception — and your chance to choose those people is a week away. Make sure your voice is heard when it comes to contraception and so much more! Here’s how:
Vote: Visit Vote.org to find your polling place, learn about early voting or vote-by-mail options, see what’s on the ballot where you live and more.
Get Educated on the Issues: The nonpartisan League of Women Voters will give you a voter guide based on your address.
Recruit Others: Friends don’t let friends throw away their vote. Remind your crew to vote, share the When We All Vote pledge on social media, or even make a plan to go to the polls together.
The news headlines and social media chatter surrounding Election Day may be dominated by hot topics like gas prices or quirky characteristics of particular candidates, but we’re urging you not to get distracted. Cast your ballot keeping in mind how the outcome could affect your health and that of the people you love, and the ability of people who can reproduce to decide their futures.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.