By Casey Olesko
As a young woman who would like to finish college and establish myself in a career before choosing to have children, birth control really matters to me. Unfortunately, it is really, really expensive. I pay $50 a month for it, and that’s with my parents’ insurance — otherwise, I’d be $90 in the hole every month. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has to go through this. Luckily, thanks to the new health care reform laws, we have a chance to eliminate this cost and make birth control free. Yes, free. No copays or out-of-pocket costs at all. Congress is currently debating what should and should not be covered under the new health care reform laws. Birth control could be covered under the “prevention” provision under the new law, since contraception is considered a preventative medicine (that is, it prevents pregnancy).
By making birth control free, the number of unintended pregnancies would plummet. Right now, many women struggle to pay for their birth control, and as a result, might not be able to use it consistently, potentially leading to an unintended pregnancy. If birth control were covered under the new health care laws, this would be much less likely. Covering birth control will lead to healthier women and children, as women will have the ability to plan out their pregnancies and provide for their children.
Considering what happened in Congress last week, birth control matters more than ever. On Saturday, the House of Representatives voted to defund the Title X program, which funds reproductive health care services like contraception, annual exams, breast and cervical cancer screening, STI testing and treatment and patient education and counseling. By defunding this program, women’s access to these services will be slashed. Women will be left without access to affordable birth control, which will lead to more unplanned pregnancies. Women will be left without affordable breast and cervical cancer screenings or annual exams, which can and do save lives. Women will be left uneducated about their health and their bodies. Women will be left without a health care provider entirely, since six out of 10 women who use Planned Parenthood’s service say the organization is their main source of health care.
So, while we fight that battle, take a moment and consider the importance of covering birth control under the new health care reform laws. Text BCMATTERS to 69866 to sign a petition and make your voice heard. Whether it’s for you or a partner, birth control matters.