Bill Will Restore Affordable Birth Control for College Students and Low-Income Women
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), praised Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for introducing The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, which would fix the affordable birth control crisis affecting college health clinics and safety-net providers and restore affordable birth control pricing for college students and low-income women. Richards also praised Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) for their leadership on this important health care issue.
“I applaud Senator Obama, Senator McCaskill, Senator Kennedy and Senator Murray for putting women's health first and introducing The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act," said Richards. "This bill is win-win. Access to affordable birth control is something Democrats and Republicans agree on. It is mainstream, pro-prevention, pro-women's health legislation. And it won't cost the taxpayers a dime.”
Senator Obama said, “We must do more to help low-income women and college students access affordable contraceptive drugs. No woman should be turned away from university clinics and health centers because the cost of prescription drugs is out of reach. Access to contraceptives is essential to lowering the rate of unintended pregnancies in this country, and we need to make sure these drugs are affordable and accessible. I thank Planned Parenthood and this bill’s co-sponsors for supporting this common-sense and necessary legislation.”
“Everyone wants to bring down the number of unintended pregnancies in this country. Part of the way we achieve that goal is to continue providing affordable contraceptives to low-income women and college students,” Senator McCaskill said. “I applaud the drug companies for being willing to do the right thing by providing contraception at reduced prices. Now Congress needs to let them do so.”
Richards also applauded the other co-sponsors of The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, which include: Senators Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, Maria Cantwell, Hillary Clinton, Susan Collins, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, Amy Klobuchar, Patrick Leahy, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, Debbie Stabenow, and Ron Wyden.
Senator Kennedy said, “This bill is urgently needed to support safety net providers across the country and the basic preventive health services they give to millions of women every year. Congress can’t ignore the financial crisis they face any longer. It’s essential to pass this bill as soon as possible.”
Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY) has introduced companion legislation in the House.
For 20 years, drug companies have made it possible for college health clinics and safety-net providers to purchase birth control at low prices in order to pass along the savings to the college students and low-income women who rely on them.
However, this fall, college women returned to campus to discover that the birth control that previously cost them $5–10 for a monthly supply now cost $40–50 per pack, making it far more difficult to afford. Due to a provision included in the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), as of January 1, 2007, every college and university health center and hundreds of safety-net providers were unintentionally cut off from accessing low-cost birth control and passing on the low price to college women and low-income women. The result has been an increase in the average price of birth control on college campuses, often to 10 times the previous cost. Skyrocketing prices are putting birth control out of reach for the college students and low-income women in need of family planning services to help them prevent unintended pregnancy. This crisis affects the estimated three million college women who take oral contraception, and hundreds of thousands of low-income women who obtain birth control through safety-net providers.
“We constantly encourage our young people to be responsible for their reproductive health, so we should also encourage Congress to improve access to affordable birth control,” said Richards.
The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, would bring down the soaring cost of birth control at college health clinics and safety-net providers and increase access to affordable birth control. This legislation will not cost the taxpayers a single dime, and would restore affordable birth control prices to college health clinics and safety-net providers.
The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act has drawn bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. There are 112 co-sponsors of the bill in the House of Representatives.
Planned Parenthood has actively worked on the affordable birth control crisis since the issue was identified. Planned Parenthood has partnered with Congress to fix the issue legislatively. Local affiliates as well as Planned Parenthood campus chapters have organized grassroots events to raise awareness of this issue.
Visit Planned Parenthood’s Save Birth Control Now webpage for more information.
November 13, 2007
November 13, 2007