Tender talk about a tough subject

Below is a caring, factual letter to send your conservative loved ones. It offers a reality check on 45th President's Oct. 5 Executive Order broadening the exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate—gutting the requirement for contraceptive coverage in insurance policies. Given that their vote will now cause an increase in unwanted pregnancies—which will mean more abortions—they need to understand what they did in last year’s election.

Dear ___:

I understand you don't like the fact that, in America, women have a right to choose to have abortions. You know that I support women’s rights to make their own reproductive choices, including choosing to have an abortion, but let’s put aside arguments about whether that procedure should be legal. Instead, let’s focus for a minute on how often abortion happens.

You don’t just oppose the idea of abortion; you want fewer actual abortions to occur in America. You’ve told me you vote for anti-choice (anti-abortion) candidates because you believe their election will result in fewer abortions. That’s also, in large part, why you voted for the current occupant of the White House. Recently, the 45th president signed an executive order sharply limiting the mandate included in the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA” or “Obamacare”) requiring insurance companies to provide contraceptive coverage to women at no additional charge (beyond the insurance premium). That order by the president you helped elect will increase the number of abortions in America.

You may not know this, but the number of abortions in America fell dramatically during President Obama’s time in office. Although several factors contributed to that decline, one of the biggest was increased access to no-additional-cost contraception, which insurers had to cover under the ACA. Not only are the numbers showing that decline certain, but the connection between mandating contraception coverage and falling abortion rates cannot be reasonably disputed. It should not be surprising that women with easy-access, no-additional-cost birth control use birth control in higher numbers, tend to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and thus have fewer abortions.

The 45th president’s decision to gut the Obamacare rule that insurance policies must provide women no-additional-cost contraception will make birth control less accessible, and the number of unintended pregnancies will rise. And as the number of unintended pregnancies goes up so will the number of abortions. I’m sorry to be the one to give you this news, but your vote for the current president is helping increase the number of abortions in America.

I’m not telling you all this to make you feel guilty. I’m telling you because I’m hoping you’ll get on the right side of this issue and take action to help reverse this effect of your vote for the president. You live in a state represented by Republicans who currently control the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Please call your representatives, explain the undeniable facts about a contraception mandate (and the harm to women that will result from not having it), and demand that they support providing contraception to women as a required part of all insurance policies.

Providing no-additional-cost contraception to women is the best policy for women; it reduces the number of abortions (which matters so much to you and many others), and it’s the best thing for America. Please help.

▪ Your senators names and numbers are: ______.

▪ Your congressperson’s name and number are:______.

The kids send you their love, and we’re all looking forward to seeing you over the holidays.

With all my love,

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