For nearly 30 years, federal laws have been in place to help safety net providers, including college health clinics, buy birth control at affordable prices, then pass on their savings to college and low-income women. But the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), passed by Congress in 2006, included a provision that adversely affected the ability of university health centers and other safety net family planning providers to purchase contraceptives at a discounted or nominal price. By most accounts, it was an inadvertent outcome of a complicated change in the law. However, nothing has been done to fix it, and millions of college women and low-income are being penalized. For example, the cost of a pack of birth control on college campuses has risen from between $5 and $10 to upwards of $40 and $50. As result, affordable birth control has become out of reach for many college women.
Congress can fix this problem immediately and Congressman Joseph Crowley recently unveiled stand alone, bipartisan legislation to restore low priced birth control at college clinics. The solution will cost nothing, and would simply clarify that college health clinics and other safety net providers are eligible to purchase nominally priced birth control.
Affordable birth control is essential to family planning and reproductive health care policies. Congress should act quickly to fix this problem.
To help bring more attention to the issue, Planned Parenthood of NYC, along with NYU Students for Choice; NYU Law Students for Choice; and Representative Joseph Crowley will be holding a rally on Monday, 11/12 at 4:45 at the Southside of Washington Square Park. Come join us and support access to affordable birth control!