2017 saw the lowest number of live births in the United States in thirty years. Rates have been steadily declining for the past few years and 2018 birth rates are expected to be even lower. At this point, the US is inching further away from a viable replacement rate for the population. This means while countries around the world see population surges, the US population is declining.
Countries like the US, Canada, and the UK are experiencing a decrease in fertility rates.
Some experts say that the global population is approaching its carrying capacity, the maximum population the earth can maintain for an individual biological species. Harvard scientists have estimated the number at approximately nine to ten billion people and population prediction matrices expect the global population to hit 9.7 billion by 2050. So any population reduction is a good thing. While countries like the US, Canada, and the UK are experiencing a decrease in fertility rates, nations like India and China are booming. China’s population is at an all-time high, with an increase of about half a billion people in the last decade, making it the most populous nation worldwide.
The month after the 2016 presidential elections saw a 21.6% increase in intrauterine device (IUD) insertions.
So, why are western nations seeing a reduction in population when other nations are booming? In the US, some experts are putting the blame squarely on the Trump presidency. The month after the 2016 presidential elections saw a 21.6% increase in intrauterine device (IUD) insertions. That’s about 700 more insertions per day for commercially insured women in the US. Many women in their reproductive prime are looking for more long-acting reversible contraception methods (LARC) due to the Trump administrations promise to take away the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Policy changes during the Trump era have recently allowed employers to decline zero co-pay coverage for employees seeking contraception.
While the ACA has managed to avoid repeal so far, a lawsuit in Texas is threatening the end of the ACA, making the pursuit of LARCs even more desirable. An IUD can last for three to ten years, depending on the brand. Compared to the pill, which requires monthly co-pays if the ACA is reversed, LARCs are an affordable option for those not looking to start a family for the next few years.
“I tried to schedule an appointment for an IUD after the election, but my gynecologist’s office was booked. I had to wait over a month. I needed to get it done before I had to pay for it. I can’t afford stuff like the pill if I have to pay for it every month,” said a sophomore Seattle Central student who requested to remain anonymous.
If you’re looking for LARC, the current ACA regulations still require that most plans cover them without cost to the insured. If your plan has one of the new Trump contraception exemptions, Planned Parenthood offers IUDs and other contraception options for no cost, depending on your income and insurance.