Birth Control is Pricey – even for those who can afford it

Big Pharma cashes in on women’s pelvic goldmines.


Birth Control Costs More Than You Think—Even for the Lucky Ones

Good News
February 11, 2012

Last year, President Obama announced that insurers would be required to provide preventative care to women—including birth control—at no cost. Cue the political posturing.

Ninety-nine percent of women have used contraception, but that hasn’t stopped far-right critics of the rule from trying to turn birth control into a controversy, one that has intensified in the past week. No one has spun the issue better than Georgia Representative Tom Price, who claimed that no woman has ever been denied access to birth control because she could not afford it. “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one,” Price told ThinkProgress when it asked how low-income women could access contraception if it were not insured.

Bring you one woman? Let’s start with two. We are a couple of white, middle-class magazine editors. We have both had difficulty affording birth control at some point in our lives. And we’re not alone. Many women struggle with the cost of birth control—1 in 3 of us, according to a recent Hart survey. Among young women, more than half face prohibitive costs. We know for a fact that it’s not just the poorest Americans who are being left behind. The people affected by the high cost of birth control are poor, working class, and middle class. They are us, and they are our partners, too.

We rounded up a group of our peers to describe just how hard it can be to secure our daily pill. Within hours, we’d heard from two dozen women who have struggled to pay for contraception. And remember: We’re some of the lucky ones. Here are our stories. Add yours in the comments or on Twitter with the hashtag #priceiswrong.

“Six weeks after the birth of my second child, I was investigating birth control options only to discover that under my insurance, an inter-uterine device was cost-prohibitive. It is very risky for mother and baby if two pregnancies happen in quick succession, so my options were to 1) take a slightly less expensive oral contraceptive with hormones that made me crazy, 2) stop having sex with my husband, or 3) use a barrier method of protection that is less effective than other forms of birth control. I am a logical liberal who also happens to be Catholic.  I am embarrassed by the outcry against birth control on the whole, but it seems even more ridiculous when applied to my situation—a married woman with two young children (including a one-month old) who is trying to do what is medically best for her family.” —Anonymous, 35, teacher


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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.

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