Thursday, March 12, 2009

Affordable Birth Control On College Campuses (one hurdle to go!)

After 2 long years of fighting to get affordable birth control back onto college campuses and into providers like Planned Parenthood, we are one short hurdle away from success.

Do you remember birth control pills being as cheap as $5 on your college campus? I don't. I don't remember BC ever being that inexpensive. I guess I wasn't paying much attention to BC prices when Congress inadvertently cut safety net providers (like college health centers) from obtaining birth control at low prices, with the passing of the Deficit Reduction Act in the fall of 2007. A legislative error in this bill caused birth control prices to skyrocket - as much as 900%.

Birth control isn't a privilege, it's a right. In these tough economic times, no woman should have to choose between a week's worth of grocery shopping and a month's worth of birth control. Cecille Richards put it bluntly, "Now more than ever, government needs to remove — not create — unnecessary barriers to health care services."

All that needs to be done to correct this error is a simple technical correction, in the form of an appropriations bill. This FY09 Bill is a no-cost provision, and includes no federal funding. It has passed already in the House, and just passed Tuesday in the Senate.

Believe it or not, there was some opposition in passing this commonsense correction. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) positioned this legislation as an "unnecessary earmark" and tried to halt its progress. In a Facebook update, Kendall from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said, "I don't know about you, but I've had enough of anti-choice politicians hiding their opposition to family planning behind claims of fiscal responsibility." It rings especially true considering that this bill costs nothing to the US government.

We urged senators not to allow DeMint to strike our provision from the bill, and they listened to us. They voted for the appropriations bill, including the provision known as the "Affordable Birth Control Act," that will help American families make responsible choices in these difficult economic times.

All that's left now is the desk of Barack Obama, who we are confident will sign it. We at Planned Parenthood salute Congress for recognizing the need for affordable birth control and fixing this problem.

PS! Hi! I'm new here at Sex. Justice. Change. - my name is Sammy and I'm a sophomore at Syracuse University, hailing from White Plains, NY. I'm delighted to be a part of this community, and excited for the future - Thanks for reading!

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