No-duh contraception reminder of the day: Birth control costs money

There a lot that’s surreal about the recent debate over birth control coverage. For one: the timing. It’s 2012 and news stories about birth control in the U.S. have to include a reminder that 99% of heterosexually active women have used it. You’ve got Fox news saying liberals support birth control “to get rid of the poor” and the American Life League warning of a slippery slope towards forced consumption of the Pill.

In an avalanche of crackpot myths about contraception, I’m especially infuriated by the conservative idea that IUDs grow on trees and birth control pills rain down from the skies. Georgia Rep. Tom Price says that “not one woman” has ever been denied access to birth control because she could not afford it and Rick Santorum claims birth control is “just a few dollars.”

The Center for American Progress offers a reminder that will probably come as no surprise to anyone besides clueless dudes and GOP politicians: Birth control costs a good chunk of change.

birth control costs

I know conservatives like to pretend that poor people don’t exist in this country, but you don’t even have to look that far to find plenty of women who struggle with the cost of birth control. A couple dozen such women (including me) recently shared their experiences at GOOD. And we’re the privileged ones. Surveys have show that many women–especially young women–have used their birth control inconsistently or put off a doctor’s visit because they couldn’t afford it. That’s exactly why the Institute for Medicine recommended offering no co-pay coverage to begin with.

Folks have been setting the record straight by tweeting at Rep. Price over the last couple days. Share your own story of using the #priceiswrong hashtag.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation

  • Stella

    As someone with libertarian tendencies, I am truly sickened that Republicans could argue that giving women (instead of their employers) a real ability to choose whether to use contraception is a slippery slope towards forcing them to take contraception. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    What we want is for WOMEN TO HAVE CHOICES. A choice to take contraception. A choice whether and when to have babies. A choice of where and how to give birth and whether or not to breastfeed. An ability to earn a living during and after making these choices.

    What they want is for employers to have the choice to coerce women into not using contraception when they want to. And to coerce women who need to earn money into not have babies (this is the result of being the only developed country without state mandated maternity leave). And for the state legislatures to have the choice to coerce women into not having an abortion. These things — the government and corporations having the power to coerce women’s reproductive decisions — is the slippery slope to forced contraceptive use and forced abortion.

  • Cayce Arnett

    I’ve been living in South Korea for the past two years, and I’m on my way home in a week. Here, I’m able to get birth control for about $6.50 over the counter at the pharmacies, and without doctors visits. In the U.S., I was paying $26 dollars a month through Planned Parenthood along with mandatory check-ups. I dread coming home since I will be job searching and won’t have a steady source of income for who knows how long. I’ve been a bit spoiled here. That’s why I’m doing what I can now throughout this birth control controversy to insure that I, and millions of other women not only have access to birth control, but that it’s affordable.

  • Tamsin

    I’m boggling a bit at some of these costs. I live in New Zealand and use a Jadelle implant, similar to Implanon. It’s government-funded here and cost me all of NZ$20. But even before the Govt decided to subsidise it, it only cost NZ$320 for the device plus insertion – I’m a bit stunned that any healthcare provider would be able to pile on extra costs to the point of costing US$800 (I think that’s about NZ$1200, not sure about the current exchange rate). To my mind, this is why having a for-profit healthcare system is a REALLY BAD IDEA.