With the news world abuzz today in light of the Supreme Court ruling on Zubik v. Burwell, another challenge to the ACA birth control mandate, I have once again become heated.
“Why?” You might ask. Social media is alight with the hastag #HandsOffMyBC and reproductive freedom is being touted across a multitude of channels. Shouldn’t I see this as a good thing? The easy answer is: I kind of do.
Yes, I believe women should have easy access to birth control.
Yes, I believe women should have easy access to abortion.
Yes, I believe women should have easy access to maternity care.
But I also believe women should have easy access to fertility treatments.
This is where the “cart” loses its wheels. The infertility sphere is the black sheep of the reproductive freedom loop as we are consistently left out of the conversation.
Women should have access to birth control, abortion, and maternity care. The ACA even mandates the majority of that. Nowhere is fertility treatment mentioned. Heck, the vast majority of states don’t even mandate that diagnosing infertility be covered. And the ones that do have a mandate, stop once diagnosis is reached. Only 20% of employers in the United States offer any infertility benefit.
Are we really empowering women to harness control of their reproductive system if we leave 7.3 million couples without treatment?
The inability to fairly access fertility treatments has the same negative affects on women’s lives as those that can’t access contraception, abortion, and/or maternity care. It hinders our health (both mental and physical), careers, and economic security.
Despite the huge affect infertility has on women’s lives, we are consistently left out of the conversation of reproductive freedom, when we should be included.
This needs to change. The best way to foster that change? Start talking about it. Advocate for infertility and adoption benefits.
The louder we are, the more likely it is people will listen.