Protests against the presidency of Donald Trump have taken many forms and iterations by those on the Left, including demonstrations and boycotts.
New research now reveals that scores of women also resorted to “protesting” in far less public ways.
Soon after the 2016 presidential election, there was a significant rise in the insertion rate of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) devices, such as IUDs (intrauterine devices), according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday.
This frenzy of contraceptive activity, it appears, was the result, at least in part, of hyped-up news reports that ignited concerns that Trump’s campaign promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act would make it more difficult and much pricier to access birth control.
Here’s one example of the fear-mongering that occurred: “Right now, birth-control pills are free under the Affordable Care Act — something that Trump has said he wants to ask Congress to repeal on the first day of his administration,” said a piece in New York Magazine. “It’s a possibility that abortion access will be even further restricted, meaning that an intrauterine device is an easy way to protect yourself against an unwanted pregnancy for at least five years.”
There were many others as well.
An abstract from the study, “Utilization of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives in the United States After vs. Before the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” claims the following: “We observed a significant increase in LARC insertions among commercially insured women during the 30 business days after the 2016 presidential election, adjusting for secular and seasonal trends and patient characteristics.”
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“If our findings were projected to the approximately 33 million women in the United States aged 18 to 45 years in 2016 with employer-sponsored health insurance,” it went on, “this rate would correspond to approximately 700 additional insertions per day in association with the 2016 election, above the approximately 4716 insertions per day that would have been otherwise predicted.”
Said Dr. Lydia Pace, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the study, “The unique thing about IUDs and implants is that they last for so long,” according to The New York Times.
In other words, women were being prophylactic about prophylactics under the Affordable Care Act, ahead of possible policy changes in the era of Trump, the study discovered.
“Our findings could reflect a response to fears of losing contraceptive coverage because of President Trump’s opposition to the ACA or an association of the 2016 election with reproductive intentions or LARC awareness,” according to the study.
Perhaps those fears are now unwarranted.
While new Trump administration rules published in November allowed employers to opt out of providing birth control reimbursement based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs” or moral convictions, a federal court last month issued a nationwide injunction blocking the administration from interfering with women’s access to free birth control, as myriad news outlets are reporting.
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Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.