Friday, September 21, 2007

College Kids Paying The Price For Birth Control

As a young woman in college, I have had first hand experience with the rising costs concerning birth control pills. In the past year, the specific brand of birth control pills I use have gone up almost an extra $10 a month, from $40 to $50. Without coverage, my prescription runs $600 a year. Although I’m fortunate to have an insurance company that covers a nice percentage of my costs, meaning I only pay $20 a month, not everyone is as lucky as I am.

According to the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice, only 24 of the 50 states in the U.S. require insurance companies to cover birth control. Fewer college campuses are making contraceptives and preventative care available to students. Also, I find it rather interesting (and ridiculous) that some insurance providers cover Viagra but not the pill. Men can get someone to pay for their erections but women are denied control over their ovaries? I don’t think so.

Anne Marie Chaker makes a good point in the Wall Street Journal.
Colleges and universities say the change is having a significant impact on their health centers and the students they serve. Prices have begun skyrocketing for many popular brands of birth control. Health centers are having to reconfigure their offerings and write new prescriptions. And college students are making some tough choices, such as switching to cheaper generic brands or forgoing their privacy in order to claim their pills on their parents' insurance.
I urge everyone to read in its entirety, here.

The University of Kentucky’s newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel, recently featured a great editorial about the rising costs of birth control pills. Will we continue to pay, whatever the cost, to prevent becoming young parents? I think we will.

If the pills are really that important to the students, they will still likely find a way to pay for the pills. Dr. Greg Moore, UHS health director, compared the increase in the cost of pills to the increase in the cost of gas prices. “You just deal with it,” he said.
It seems that more people would want everyone to have access not only to the pill, but all forms of contraception. I’m sure parents don’t want to know their kids are having sex (much like we don’t want to know about our parents,) however, don’t we want them to be protected? I think it’s important for college students as well as campus publications to talk about this issue and educate more young people about what’s going on with their health insurance. Higher birth control prices will have a negative impact on sexually active college and high school students. Some may not be able or want to pay the new amounts and might refrain from protection altogether.

Well, we can always rely on abstinence only sex education, right? It seems to be a rather effective means keeping the number of unexpected pregnancies and STD’s down. Oh wait, no it’s not. It’s completely na├»ve and idiotic. Let’s see, how about we take away condoms, birth control and any knowledge about safe sex. Talk about being safe. I’m sure the hormone-filled youth will refrain from sex.

As for the issue of Viagra being covered while prescriptions like Yaz and Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo are not, NARAL has organized a petition you can sign. Along with your signature, you can leave a personal message to your state senator. I encourage everybody to sign.

--Ashlie McEachern

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