For decades, the topic of female reproductive health has been a point of contention in American politics. One of the first landmark decisions on reproductive health policies in the US was in 1965 when the Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut ruled that the US Constitution protects the privacy of married couples to purchase and utilise contraceptives without any restrictions by the government. This marked the beginning of a change in public attitude towards stronger reproductive health rights, which eventually led to further legalisation of contraceptives for unmarried couples, and ultimately, resulted in the momentous Roe v. Wade case for legalised abortion.
More than half a century after the Griswold v. Connecticut case, controversy still surrounds the use of contraceptives in the US as evidenced by several divisive decisions made by President Donald Trump’s administration. In early 2020, the Trump administration defunded hundreds of medical clinics from Title X funding, which has placed significant stress on more than one million women who relied on reproductive healthcare services from these clinics to access contraceptives. Furthermore, the Trump administration allowed employers to opt out of covering contraceptives in their insurance plans, which has exasperated proponents of widespread access to contraceptives, especially after the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in the summer of 2020.
Incumbent President Donald Trump of the Republican Party and former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden have markedly opposing views on accessibility to female reproductive healthcare, and by extension, overall healthcare policies. Trump has repeatedly expressed his mandate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while Biden aims to build on it by expanding coverage to low-income earners and providing various tax credits, among other plans. The ACA currently covers female contraception as part of the list of preventative services without patient co-payment, unless an employer objects on religious or moral grounds. The future of this coverage is largely dependent on the outcome of the upcoming presidential election, as it will become significantly limited if Trump holds his office for a second term but could be maintained or even expanded under a Biden presidency.
In addition to the issue of patient access to robust reproductive healthcare, the medical devices industry, targeting this market, could also face some threat if the prevalence of contraceptive usage declines during a second Trump presidency. According to GlobalData, the US market for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved reversible contraceptive devices such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormonal implants, and diaphragms is valued above $1.1bn and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 1.63% until 2030. This growth will be driven largely by the increasing percentage of women using IUDs. However, major players in the IUD market like Allergan, Bayer, and CooperSurgical should prepare for a potential slump in market demand as a possible second-term Trump presidency could mean fewer women accessing contraceptives over the next four years.