Skip to main content

MAGA Republican Attacks on the Affordable Care Act Threaten Reproductive Health Care

By June 4, 2024No Comments

The Senate is voting on the Right to Contraception Act just before the second anniversary of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Since then, Republican attacks on reproductive health care have skyrocketed. MAGA Republicans have placed reproductive health care in turmoil through draconian abortion bans, and they are once again threatening access to contraceptives by working to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which guarantees free access to hundreds of no-cost preventive services, including birth control. Trump and his closest allies are also planning on policies to further restrict contraception through executive action, extreme cuts to Medicaid, and more.

Trump And His Closest Allies Are Pushing To Restrict Access To Contraception. Trump and his MAGA allies are developing a blueprint for a second Trump administration to restrict birth control through a series of executive actions, and Trump recently said he was “looking at” imposing new policy restrictions on contraception. The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 plan includes numerous proposals that would require coverage of so-called “natural planning” contraceptive strategies and remove requirements that insurance cover certain forms of emergency contraception.

  • The Trump Administration Already Made It Harder To Access Reproductive Health Care. The Trump administration took multiple steps to make it harder for women, people of color, and LGBTQI+ Americans to access reproductive health care. As President, Trump allowed more employers to opt out of birth control coverage in their workers’ health insurance. For example, in August 2019, the Trump administration began enforcing a rule that bars certain federally-funded clinics from referring women for abortions. As a result, the nation’s largest recipient of Title X funds, Planned Parenthood, was forced to exit the program, losing $60 million in funding previously used to provide birth control and reproductive health care services for low-income women.

Republicans Are Threatening To Repeal the Affordable Care Act, Which Covers Contraceptives. Republicans have spent years taking dozens of failed votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They have also taken their fight to overturn the ACA to the Supreme Court and failed all three times. During his first term, Donald Trump notoriously tried and failed multiple times to repeal the ACA he has repeatedly reignited his calls to “terminate” the Affordable Care Act, which he claims is a “disaster.” The ACA made enormous strides for women’s health. By taking these actions, Republicans are fighting to strip protections from women that provide access to lifesaving care. 

  • The ACA Made Access To Birth Control Free For Over 60 Million Americans. The ACA guarantees that private health plans cover 18 methods of contraception and make them available to 58 million patients with no out-of-pocket costs. More than 99 percent of sexually active women have used contraceptives at some point in their lifetimes, and approximately 60 percent of women of reproductive age currently use at least one birth control method. In addition to increasing access to this essential treatment, this ACA provision has saved money for women and their families: women saved $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013.

MAGA Judges Are Putting Free Preventive Services Guaranteed By The ACA On The Chopping Block. Extremists are challenging a provision of the ACA that requires insurers to cover lifesaving preventive services for free. Last year, a lower court overturned a narrow set of preventive services in a ruling that was stayed pending appeal, and insurance companies are already trying to charge copays for key preventive services like cancer screenings in defiance of the stay. Worse still, the plaintiffs now want the appeals court to go further and eliminate guaranteed free coverage of vaccines and women’s preventive services like additional types of cancer screenings, prenatal care, and contraception. The case, known as Braidwood v. Becerra, is set to be decided by a panel of judges at the MAGA-packed Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Two of the three judges deciding the case are extreme Trump appointees with long records of opposition to affordable health care, green-lighting abortion bans, medical misinformation campaigns, and anti-vaccine cases. Here are just some of the free, lifesaving benefits that could be invalidated: 

  • GONE: Free, Guaranteed Coverage For Breast & Cervical Cancer Screenings. Braidwood threatens to overturn ACA requirements that insurers cover free screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer.
  • GONE – Free, Guaranteed Preventive Treatment for Pregnancy Complications. Braidwood threatens the ACA requirements that insurers cover medications used to prevent life-threatening complications in pregnancy like preeclampsia as well as mental health interventions for pregnancy-related depression
  • GONE – Free, Guaranteed Pregnancy Screenings & Treatments. The ACA requires free access to a variety of preventive services related to pregnancy, including preeclampsia screenings, breastfeeding equipment like pumps and bottles, folic acid, and screenings for perinatal diabetes, in order, to support healthy pregnancies and fight the maternal mortality crisis.

Republicans Are Waging a War on Medicaid, Which Covers Reproductive Health Care For Millions of Americans. Medicaid, which covers tens of millions of Americans, is an essential source of reproductive health care. Republicans in Congress and Donald Trump are itching for a renewed war on Medicaid The latest proposals from the Republican Study Committee and the Trump team in waiting at the Heritage Foundation would throw millions of people off their coverage through block granting and burdensome work reporting requirements. Almost two-thirds, or 62 percent, of those who would lose their Medicaid coverage as a result of work requirements, are women and disproportionately women of color.

MAGA Republicans Across the Country Are Attacking Reproductive Health. Nearly two years ago, Donald Trump’s appointees to the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade – and the consequences for reproductive health have been catastrophic, from cruel and archaic abortion bans to devastating uncertainty about access to IVF and other reproductive care. If MAGA Republicans get their way there will be even more extreme judicial appointments and an all-out push to use the Comstock Act to create a de facto national ban on abortions and sharply limit access to medications. 

Republicans and Anti-Choice Extremists Are Fighting In Court To Ban Access To Abortion Medications. Republicans, including at least 67 members of Congress and 22 Republican attorneys general, are battling in court right now to rescind the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, a safe and effective medication essential for abortion access. The case, (Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration) is centered on revoking authorization for mifepristone, a safe and effective medication essential for abortion access that was approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago. Anti-abortion advocates, represented by a far-right legal organization, brought suit with the sweeping aim of achieving a nationwide ban. The case risks not only barring the use of mifepristone for safe and legal abortions for millions of women, but it opens the door for the politically motivated removal of other safe and effective drugs from the market — throwing the entire U.S. drug approval process into chaos. As is true for all abortion restrictions, people of color, low-income individuals, and those without regular access to a nearby health care provider will be disproportionately harmed by restrictions and uncertainty around medication access. 

Republicans and Red State Judges Are Threatening Fertility Treatments Like IVF Through Extreme, Anti-Choice Policies. Earlier this year, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos should be considered children, putting the future of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in jeopardy. Republicans have made it clear that they have no intention to protect reproductive health care in the post-Roe landscape. A Senate Republican even moved to block a bill to establish federal protections for IVF and other fertility treatments.