Chicago • It looks as though president-elect Donald Trump is getting serious about repealing the Affordable Care Act, which means that the gains women made in access to birth control are as up-in-the-air as the vitriol-inducing requirement to pay a fine for opting to not get health insurance.
But before fretting about what might be taken away, it's worth noting that even in its present form, the ACA did not magically make birth control universally accessible to all the low-income women the law hoped to cover.
According to data from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, there are currently 19.7 million women in need who live in what they call "contraceptive deserts." This means they lack "reasonable access" to public clinics that offer a full range of birth control methods, from access to condoms and spermicide to pills, IUDs, implants and others.
They define "reasonable access" as a county where the number of public clinics, and estimated number of providers in those clinics, are enough to meet the needs of the county's population, defined as at least one clinic/provider for every 1,000 women.
But even having this baseline number of health care providers in a geographic area doesn't mean that women are necessarily able to access the birth control services they need.