Thursday, October 1, 2020

Guest Blogger Series: Nancy Keenan “No-Cost Birth Control Becomes a Reality”

Ninety-eight percent of American women use birth control during their lifetime.

Yet for many women, it’s simply too expensive. One in three women has struggled with the high cost of prescription birth control. And 50 percent of Latinas say there has been a time when the high cost of prescription contraception meant they couldn’t use it consistently.

The consequences are staggering. Young adults ages 18-24 have the highest rate of unintended pregnancy in the United States –and nearly one-third of female teenagers become pregnant before reaching the age of 20. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended.

Thankfully, the days of unaffordable birth control will end soon. In July, a panel of medical experts recommended that prescription birth control be considered preventive care under the new health-care law.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius accepted the panel’s recommendations. This means that newly issued insurance plans must cover the full range of FDA-approved contraception without a copay.

This is very good news for women. Women will realize the importance of this decision every time they go to the pharmacy counter and pick up their birth control without paying a copay.

NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation campaigned hard to make no-cost birth control a reality. We launched the Birth Control for Me (BC4ME) campaign on college campuses last spring.

In June, we unveiled a BC4ME Facebook application. The application lets you know how much money you—or your girlfriend, partner, wife, daughter, or sister—would save in your lifetime if you didn’t have to pay out-of-pocket costs for birth control. More than 10,000 people have calculated the personal impact that no-cost birth control would have on them.

Liliane in Pennsylvania remembers what it was like to have her husband out of work while he recovered from open-heart surgery. It was tough raising three kids. She could have used every extra cent just to pay for food for her family.

Nicole in Texas sacrifices her birth control because her other expenses are just too much.

These are two of the real women whose lives will be improved by this important policy change from the Obama administration.

Do you still have questions about how no-cost birth control will work? We’ve put together an FAQ page over on Blog for Choice.

If you have any questions you don’t see answered or personal stories you’d like to share, please post them here on the comments section. We want to hear how no-cost birth control would benefit you.

The new no-cost birth-control rule will help millions of women prevent unintended pregnancy and thereby reduce the need for abortion. We think that’s something Americans can all support.