By Erin Keene
Over the past few months, thousands of college students across the country have been canceling their birth control prescriptions – and it’s not because they’re practicing abstinence.
The Deficit Reduction Act, which went into effect in January, has caused the price of oral contraceptives on campuses, and in non-profit health centers such as Planned Parenthood, to nearly triple.
The law was passed back in 2005 to help reduce the country’s federal deficit by cutting back on Medicaid, the federal drug program for lowincome people. However, this cut also slashed the funding given to universities to lower birth control costs as well as other back up contraceptives such as the morning after pill, the ring and hormone injections.
“This issue is not just a feminist issue, said FAU senior Samantha Montgomery. “It affects everyone on campus, both women and men.
One of the most popular birth control brands, Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, jumped from $12 a month to a whopping $50. The new price tag is just not feasible for students on budget who are already struggling just to pay for tuition, housing, books… not to mention the rise in food and gas prices.
Years of efforts in urging the practice safe sex are being reversed as a lot of students feel they have no choice but to go unprotected. And this is no small number: According to the American College Health Association, about 39 percent of undergraduate women use oral contraceptives. Universities across the nation are doing everything they can to get the law repealed, from passing out petitions to holding rallies. Supplies have been donated with the support of Planned Parenthood’s Save Birth Control Now!Campaign, which has attempted to raise national awareness about rising birth control costs.
The American Health Care Association has also stepped in, making Congress aware of the adverse consequences of the new act in hopes of getting the situation turned around; unfortunately the process will take some time.
According to the LA Times, “Restoring the discounts for these clinics wouldn’t cost the taxpayer – though taxpayers might end up picking up the high cost of unintended pregnancies if women cannot afford contraception.
What you can do:
Send a letter to your representative urging Congress to restore access to affordable birth control NOW. Its so easy, the e-mail has already been prepared, just go to:ppaction.org/campaign/birthcontrolprice fill out the form and press send.