Women Won’t Back Down as Trump Wages War on Reproductive Rights

Since his inauguration on January 20, Donald Trump and his administration have been systematically rolling back protections for Americans of various identities. Trump’s string of executive orders have predictably hit Muslim-Americans, foreigners, and refugees the hardest so far, but they’re not the only group that has cause to worry about Trump’s plans.

Trump’s administration kicked off their apparent endgame of taking away the rights of the American people by launching a full-scale attack on women’s healthcare around the world. Despite the fact that the day after his inauguration, millions of American women (and allies) turned out to protest the administration’s demonstrated views on the regulation of female bodies, Trump and his cronies have doubled-down on their promises to strip away women’s rights to make decisions about their reproductive health.

While watching the events unfold has been distressing to say the least, there is a silver lining to the decisions Trump has made so far. Mind you, this upside is not enough to excuse their actions, but it does speak to the refusal of American women to take this stripping away of freedoms laying down. The silver lining is that women are getting serious about their sexual health.

Since the day after the election of Donald Trump, women all over the country have been scrambling to ensure that their futures are protected in the years to come. The promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act (which guaranteed free or close-to-free birth control to all) and the even more discriminatory fight to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood has lit a fire under many women who refuse to leave decisions about their bodies to a bunch of old, white, men who apparently never took a sex-ed class.

In an interview with CNN just before the inauguration of Donald Trump, president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards shared that the organization had seen an unprecedented surge in support and a 900% increase in women seeking IUDs in the days following the election.

For those of you who don’t know, an intrauterine device (IUD) is a highly effective and long-term form of birth control with the Mirena (a hormonal option) lasting for three to five years and the ParaGard (a hormone-free option) can remain inserted for up to twelve. The long-term efficacy of the IUD makes it a great option for many women, but especially for those who want to take control of their reproductive health when future access to birth control and other women’s-health-specific services is so uncertain.

Sure, fear isn’t the best reason for women to start making big decisions about their bodies, but the increase in support for and appointments at Planned Parenthood further proves one important thing: Americans aren’t taking this lying down. In the wake of Trump’s election, many people feared that apathy would set in and the public would sit back and accept whatever was thrown our way. That’s turning out to be far from the reality.

Protests and marches have been happening regularly all over the country in the days since the inauguration, but just at the same time, a quiet kind of protest has been happening in the homes of millions of women. Active, vocal resistance is certainly necessary right now, but just as important and powerful are the private moves we make to protect ourselves. Of course, in a perfect world no woman would be worried about whether she will have access to the services she needs in the coming years, but the world that we live in is far from perfect at the moment.