Price of contraceptives too damn high

WSN Editorial Board

Throughout this issue, we have stressed the burden body-related issues have on men and women, from the media’s effect on body image to body dysmorphia. Yet one of the biggest health risks facing American college students involve contraception and sexually transmitted infections. These can be mitigated with cheap access to condoms, but this is not the only form of contraceptive that should be available to students. Yet condoms are still the most common form of birth control distributed in college dorms. Though this promotes safe sex, free condoms are by no means the best solution for many women. Oral birth control, on the whole, has a much higher efficacy rate with a slew of health benefits on the side. While contraceptives are cheaper for those with private insurance, prices still range between $20-$162, and the majority of those who rely on affordable birth control still struggle to obtain the contraceptive they deserve. The range of contraceptives that aren’t condoms must be broadened.

The pill is critical for women’s reproductive health — not only does it prevent pregnancy, but it also helps women regulate their menstrual cycles for personal or medical reasons. Approximately 4-12 percent of women are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which the contraceptive pill helps treat. Taking the pill brings the menstrual cycle under control. It also reduces male hormone levels, acne and the risk of endometrial cancer. It should be noted that if the patient stops taking the pill, all these problems resurface, making it essential for the pill to be taken regularly.

Not only is contraceptive access essential for gender equality, but it is also needed across the socioeconomic spectrum. Having a child is, to put it bluntly, expensive. In 2015, the average cost of raising a child in America was around $245,000. Prevention, however, is still quite expensive. Although the Affordable Care Act increased the number of women who have free access to the pill, 33 percent of women still must pay for the pill, even while privately insured. Many women, for a myriad of reasons, simply are not ready for a child. But this unreadiness should not put a limitation on women’s sexual decisions.

The pill is an especially important form of contraceptive because it grants women control. Between its high efficacy rate and its widespread medical benefits, no other form of contraceptive is quite so versatile. And because the decision to use the pill has nothing to do with the man, the pill provides a concrete manifestation for female empowerment in the modern age. Women need unfettered control of their own bodies, and unfettered access to contraceptives is an important step. Let every woman have contraceptives on her own terms, and equality will follow.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

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