Lots of people are on birth control. A lot.
In fact, across the United States, 62 percent of young reproductive age adults are using birth control right now. That’s over 103 million females throughout our country. While that is only slightly more than half of the female population, a whopping 98 percent of females that are sexually active have used birth control at some point in their lives. The repercussions of cutting away access to birth control, which is currently under seige in Washington, are beyond widespread, and sadly this could be a reality in the not too near future.
The Trump administration’s latest attacks on women’s reproductive rights are, simply, outrageous. We’ll explore every avenue to protect women’s access to all available reproductive health services. #NoGagRule #TitleX pic.twitter.com/SWV5pmOnR3
— New York Attorney General (@NewYorkStateAG) June 1, 2018
As of Friday June 1st, a newly proposed piece of legislation has made it much easier for health providers to resist the previous birth control mandate, which provided free access to the pill to anyone with health insurance. The new mandate, which would pull Obama’s Title X family planning options from many women across the country, is set to take action immediately, should employers chose to cut it from their plans. In short, the revoking of this act now gives employers the ability to deny health insurance coverage over pregnancy contraceptives that the Affordable Care Act had previously made mandatory.
Over the past nine years that Title X has been in affect, the lack of co-pays on preventional substances have not only helped them become largest female-obtained product covered by healthcare, but it has also prevented hundreds of unwanted pregnancies and lessened the number of abortions within the United States by half. Substances such as these have become a daily part of females lives, but possibly not for much longer.
"Rather than putting up with this attack on womankind, Planned Parenthood has created a tool to assist citizens in tracking Trump to keep females up to speed with the new ruling’s effect on their bodies." Photo Courtesy of TrackingTrump.org
“The affordable birth control that Title X provides helps prevent one million unintended pregnancies each year.” according to a statement from Planned Parenthood. “Overall, publicly funded birth control services — including Title X — help women avoid 1.9 million unintended pregnancies, including 440,000 teen pregnancies, every year.”
And, Mr. Trump, what do you plan on doing to support those half a million women children that will need resources and access to health care throughout and after their pregnancies? Any legislation planned to address this Handmaid's Tale-like reality you will be supporting?
Without the birth control mandate I don’t know how much the treatment would cost,” Diedra from Washington told BBC. “This is definitely an attack on women - if this issue affected men it wouldn’t be happening this way.”
According to the Trump Administration, this new ruling, which was originally presented in December, uses ‘religious beliefs’ and ‘moral convictions’ as the reasons for pulling universal access. In no uncertain terms, the United States government also hints at the availability of birth control substances leading to ‘risky sexual behavior’. Jury’s out on whether there’s any proof of that, or whether it’s just more lip service meant to push a pre-decided agenda.
“Imposing a coverage mandate on objecting entities whose plans cover many enrolled families who may share objections to contraception could, among some populations, affect risky sexual behavior in a negative way,” claims the hotly contentious piece of legislation.
While this new ruling came as a shock to the majority of U.S. citizens, Planned Parenthood has been taking this heat for a while. However, this nonprofit organization that supplies contraception, family planning, and assistance on reproductive complications, which treats approximately 4 million U.S. citizens a year, is not willing to go down without a fight. Rather than putting up with this attack on womankind, Planned Parenthood has created a tool to assist citizens in Tracking Trump to keep females up to speed with the new ruling’s effect on their bodies. The website also tracks and calls out the promises Trump had made when elected, revealing which he has gone back on, and which were simply abandoned.
And yet, the Trump-Pence administration is issuing a gag rule to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood. It is clear the administration doesn't care. #NoGagRule #IStandWithPP pic.twitter.com/ACdwpbOiGP
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) June 4, 2018
Planned Parenthood isn’t alone in this fight. Females across the country are not putting up with this new ruling. Instead, they are standing up for their bodies and taking control of what they are rightfully entitled to. Protest-inspired hashtags such as #ThxBirthControl, #ProtectTitleX, #NoGagRule, and #HandsOffMyBody are helping to galvanize females across the country into action. Hopefully, we can begin to take this threat seriously, and take our anxiety into powerful counter-action.
How many times have you looked at something and thought: I wish this did more? And how many times have you thought long and hard about what else you could make it do, if you had the resources, time, and a factory-load of people working for you?
We've all certainly been there. Whether we were 5 and inventing a flying Barbie, or futuristic football, or 35 and looking at the kitchen imagining a self-taught robot that would help with the nightly dinners. We've all come up with what we thought were million dollar ideas - but almost none of us follow through because we're already too busy, and somebody else has probably invented it already.
For one woman, this very sequence of events took place when she was just a teenager. Unimpressed with her dog's collar, she created a new one with florescent sides (making them more visible to cars at night) that would fit more comfortably on a dog or cat's neck. But because of her relative youth, the collar was never produced, and a year later was released and patented by another company.
The girl, Joy Mangano, vowed this would never happen again.
Fast forward to 1990. Single mother-of-three, Mangano has a bigger, bolder idea. This time, the Miracle Mop is born, launching her career as an entrepreneur and setting her up for a life in the spotlight with her product launch on QVC. Between then and now, Mangano has accrued 100 patents (for products like the Huggable Hanger and My Little Steamer) and her company, Ingenious Designs is worth over $50million.
This story was told in Hollywood by David O.Russell in 2015 with his Golden Globe winning movie, Joy. Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Mangano served to highlight the difficulty of entrepreneurship and instruct on the minefield of patent disputes.
Mangano's latest product is one she says she's been working on for her entire life: a journal, a manual and a self-help for entrepreneurs wrapped up in her book, Inventing Joy: Dare to Build a Brave and Creative Life.
SWAAY spoke with Mangano about the necessity for this kind of book in this age of entrepreneurship, and how it will resonate with aspiring female inventors and change-makers.
Drawing on her success and the pains it took to get there, Mangano has penned a book that will no doubt be a bible for those looking to take their flying Barbies or futuristic footballs to market. "I️ believe it will be a resource for people they can keep coming back to," she remarks. "This book truly is a lesson for anybody - in their careers, no matter what age."
Her family have been crucial to the whole process of building her brand and expanding Ingenious Designs, for the last 17 years, and have informed many of the chapters in the book. "I️ am fortunate enough to work with my children, family and friends and they were completely integral (to the books production)," says Mangano. Her daughter Christie serves as SVP Brand Development, Merchandising & Marketing Strategy having worked with her mom for thirteen years. “She's my left brain," laughs Mangano. Both her son Bobby and other daughter Jackie have worked elsewhere before also coming under their mother's umbrella. Bobby currently serves as Executive Vice President of the company and Jackie is involved with the fashion side of the business, which is certainly no mean feat, as she is also involved in styling for the upcoming reboot of The Murder on the Orient Express.
"When you can do things in life - work and follow your passion with people you love - it makes it all that much more meaningful and pure happiness."
The launch of her book signals new territory for the serial inventor, who has her first opportunity to tour the country and speak to those whose homes she has appeared in for the past 15 years on QVC and HSN.
"This is really one of my dreams," she comments. "I️'ve always wanted to go around the country and meet all of my customers and this is one way to do that. It couldn't be better."
"95% of my customers are women so I️ can't help but be an advocate always."
While on tour, Mangano is destined to meet a host of people that will tell her of their inventions or start-up ideas, but none more so than the millennials, who are completely reinventing the notion of entrepreneurship. Mangano hopes that through the book aspiring female entrepreneurs will be able to take solace in the fact they don't have to do it all. "I️ truly believe - this is a generation I️ watch, a lot of them work for me and with me - today, more than ever, they think they have to do it all."
"Dressed beautifully and in a meeting, they'll say 'I've been up since 5. Dressed the kids. Fed the kids.' And then (after work) they'll come home, have quality time, bath time. And I️ say - you can miss a game." If there's one thing she would invent for millennial women, it's this very advice, she says.
Rather than a product, or an item, it's this advice that, contrary to the millennial mindset, you don't have to be five places at one time or working 20-hour days to get where you want to be. Instead, Mangano has sections of the book that will inform on how better to manage your time and your ideas - to employ her methods - so you can become successful with (a little) less stress.
When asked how social media and the digital age has influenced her real-world inventions (like mops, hangers, steamers and pillows), Mangano chuckles. Technology, rather than impairing the invention of real world application actually opens up a 'wider range' tells the inventor. “It opens up a direct - to - consumer feedback and enhances your platform."
"With Instagram and Facebook my customers communicate with me. That's critical for looking at what you do and for the future of what you do."
Out of the dozens of things she's invented, Mangano won't say what her favorite is. "What am I️ most proud of? That's hard to say - that's like asking what child do you love the most and I️ don't think I️ could be prouder of any of them."