The Keep Birth Control Copay Free campaign came to UNC on Friday in the Mission Control bus, its customized Airstream.
The Airstream parked outside of Davis Library from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and its team encouraged students and visitors to take part in the campaign to keep birth control copays free.
On Oct. 6, the Trump administration announced two new rules that would allow employers to stop covering birth control on grounds of moral or religious conflicts. These rules would roll back the birth control benefit included in the Affordable Care Act, which established birth control as preventative health care, making it and other preventive health care services copay free.
“We believe that the decision about whether or when to have children should lie with women and not with Congress, and so we began the Keep Birth Control Copay Free Campaign, which is designed to raise awareness about the critical importance of copay free contraception,” said April Reign, the digital strategist and spokesperson for the Keep Birth Control Copay Free campaign.
Reign said the Airstream is visiting various schools in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Virginia to empower women and men who are concerned about this health issue.
“I think one of the important points here is that many of the women that we are seeing on our college tour actually came of reproductive age during the Obama years, and so these women have never even had to think about paying for birth control, and so this could mean a significant difference to them financially and personally,” she said.
Outside of Davis Library, students were invited to enter the dorm-themed interior of the Airstream and engage in an iPad station allowing visitors to send comments to the Trump administration, as well as a specialized invoice generator.
The invoice generator, according to Reign, calculates the annual cost of a person’s preferred method of birth control and sends the bill to both the Trump administration and to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The invoice language is also being sent to the federal register as an official comment opposing the new rules. The commenting period ends on Dec. 5, Reign said.
Students could get a photo taken inside the Airstream, contribute their opinions to a chalkboard and take free stickers, pins, “Trump condoms” and tiny foam fingers.
Jameela Davis, a member of the team campaigning with the Airstream, said the goal is to flood the administration with as many invoices and petitions as they can.
Jonathan Perron, a business major, visited the bus and said his decision to sign the petition was based on his belief that this is women’s health issue.
“It’s up to them to have power over their own bodies, and it gives a little bit more autonomy and control to women, and that’s why I’m for it and that’s why I decided to sign the petition,” Perron said.
Hallie Smith, who was touring campus on Friday, expressed her support for what the campaign was doing.
“I have 11 grandchildren, and I want them to have any protection they need for whatever reason,” Smith said.
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