Fight for affordable birth control needs

The growing cost of oral contraceptives is placing an increasing strain on college students’ tight budgets, and it’s up to students themselves to change the situation.

In 2005, Congress passed a deficit-reduction bill that mainly targeted Medicaid but failed to include colleges on the exception list, making it impossible for drug companies to offer prescription birth control to universities at a reduced price, the Kernel reported March 3.

As a result, students at universities across the nation have seen a steep increase in the cost of their prescription birth control from $5 to $10 before the 2005 bill to $40 to $50 after its passage, said Shirley Jones, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kentucky, in the Kernel.

Locally, Planned Parenthood of Kentucky is leading the efforts in combating the increase in costs of birth control at university health centers.

Planned Parenthood hopes to garner 2,000 postcards in the shape of a birth control dispenser to deliver to Congress in a show support for a bill that would combat rising birth control prices on college campuses. Yet Planned Parenthood cannot be the only voices fighting for affordable birth control.

Many women at UK (and men by association) have undoubtedly been affected by the sharp increase in cost of their birth control, forcing them to have to budget money away from other necessities or change their birth control to methods that are potentially less effective and less appropriate for their body chemistry.

All of those who have been affected directly or indirectly by the 2005 bill should not hesitate to contact their congressional representatives. Either by signing the postcards offered by Planned Parenthood or by contacting a representative by phone or e-mail, students should get involved in the campaign to make prescription birth control available on colleges campuses at a reduced price.

This is an issue that primarily affects students. If we do not stand up for ourselves, no one will do it for us. Planned Parenthood and the students working to petition Congress for a break in birth control prices for university health centers should be commended for their efforts. However, it is essential that Planned Parenthood, students and all other sympathetic parties keep lobbying for Congress to correct what was apparently an oversight in 2005.