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Bill Will Bring Down Birth Control Costs at College Clinics

On a conference call with reporters today, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), praised Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) for introducing bipartisan legislation that will fix the affordable birth control crisis affecting college health clinics and safety-net providers. Rep. Crowley joined Richards on the call.  

Today, Rep. Crowley introduced The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, a bill that would provide a no-cost technical fix to restore eligibility for college health centers and safety-net providers to obtain low-cost birth control, and pass the savings on to college students and low-income women. 

“I applaud Congressman Crowley for taking action 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 do agree on.  It is mainstream, pro-prevention, pro-women's health legislation.  And it won't cost the taxpayers a dime.”

Rep. Crowley said, “A bureaucratic mistake should not stand in the way of protecting the health and safety of hard-working women.  My colleagues, who are interested in effectively preventing unintended pregnancies, ought to support this measure and join us in urging its immediate passage.” 

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. 

Rep. Crowley’s legislation, 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 the voluntary benefit to college health clinics and safety-net providers.

Co-authors of the bill are Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

“Let’s be frank with the American people: If Congress does not fix this problem, the cost of contraceptives will continue to rise, unintended pregnancies — especially on college campuses — will continue to rise, and more abortions will be the result,”  Rep. Ryan said.  “This scenario should be unacceptable to every member of Congress — regardless of party or ideology.  Congress should waste no time in fixing this mistake.  If we’re serious about giving students in our universities a chance to finish their degrees and become productive members of our economy, then we ought to help them avoid unintended pregnancies.”

The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act has drawn bipartisan support and already has 101 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors 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. 



Planned Parenthood Federation of America



Christy Setzer, 202-973-4975
Tait Sye, 202-973-4840



November 01, 2007


September 07, 2016