Supporting Reproductive Liberty
We support our members' right to make their own health care decisions. That includes reproductive health care decisions.
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade this year has signaled our need to reinforce our support of reproductive liberty. Whether you choose to be a parent, or not, we support your right to make your own health care decisions. Your well-being is our priority.
Member Allie Breyer (32) recently spoke out on social media about her journey to undergo an elective tubal ligation (sterilization.) In sharing her story, we hope to spread awareness about reproductive paths available to our members.
Allie has known for a while that she did not want kids, in fact, she says she was never really drawn to the idea. “I was told by everyone around me that I would eventually grow into it; that when I got older, I would change my mind. But, it never changed for me,” she says. “The older I became, the idea of having kids grew further and further from my mind.” Allie cites many reasons for her decision to not have children including climate change, the lack of federally guaranteed paid parental leave, and the overwhelming financial burden of child care, health care, and college debt.
While this decision was the right one for her, it wasn’t always easy. “The first time I told my mom I wanted this procedure, she cried,” she says. “Luckily, I now have her support, but it took her a long time to come to terms with not being a grandma to my kids. Additionally, many doctors won’t even consider allowing people who can get pregnant to have tubal ligation unless they already have kids.”
Allie’s Advice for Anyone Considering Sterilization
- Have open, regular communication with your health care provider about your desire for a sterilization procedure. Sometimes, they may not support you during the first ask. So, keep asking and be persistent.
- If you can’t find a doctor who will support you, reach out to Planned Parenthood and ask if they can either 1) support you in getting the procedure or 2) help you find a provider who will support you. If you are a Blue Cross VT member, you can contact them to see how they can support you.
- Remember, this is your body and your choice. Nobody gets to make this decision for you, even if society, your family, and your doctor may try to tell you otherwise or talk you out of it. Find someone who will support you – a partner, a friend, or a family member – as you go through this process.
Luckily, Allie felt supported by both her doctors and insurance plan. “I am grateful to have Blue Cross VT as insurance through my workplace,” she says. “Ligations and vasectomies are covered 100 percent as part of my insurance plan. I’ve been privileged to have doctors and insurance to support me in this journey, a privilege I recognize not everyone has.”
To learn more about what procedures are covered by your plan, visit the Member Resource Center or call the number on the back of your member ID card.
Racial Disparity in Reproductive Health
In addition to sharing her personal health journey, Allie has also spoken publicly about racial disparities in reproductive health. Women in majority Black, Hispanic, and Native communities experience higher rates of unexpected outcomes and consequences of labor and delivery, compared to women in majority White communities.
“Reproductive justice is a human right,” Allie says. “All people should have the social, political, and economic power and resources to make healthy and safe decisions about their bodies, gender, sexuality, and families.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have committed to reducing racial disparities in maternal health by 50% in five years. Learn more about Racial Disparities in Maternal Health.
Choosing the Right Reproductive Path
Pregnancy can beautiful and rewarding, but it can also be risky and stressful. Having access to options and quality health care is essential for anyone who can get pregnant.
Member Joanna Champion recently gave birth to her second child and is an advocate of our Better Beginnings program. Our free Better Beginnings program is a great way to make sure that expecting members and their babies get all the care they need. “My nurse case manager was very helpful and kind,” Joanna says. “I knew she was there for any questions I had, and she was helpful in pointing me to local resources ranging from mommy/baby classes, lactation consultants, and more.”
If you decide to pursue pregnancy, we will support your maternal health journey. If you decide to use contraception or seek elective procedures, we will support you on that journey as well.
Voting for Reproductive Liberty
In November, Vermont will vote on The Reproductive Liberty Amendment (Article 22) which, if passed, would protect reproductive liberties in our constitution forever.
“This is huge,” Allie says. “We can show other states how to lead in reproductive justice. I hope Vermonters will join me in voting YES on reproductive justice this fall.”
Learn more about the Reproductive Liberty Amendment.