Congress this week will be looking at providing a fix to the soaring birth control prices we have seen in the last year. The high cost of birth control has severely affected thousands of low income and rural Latinas, as well as Latinas at universities and colleges across the country. In many cases the cost has risen almost 900% this year due to a mistake Congress made last year.
For many years, Congress permitted pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily offer nominally-priced drugs to certain health care providers—translating into low cost birth control for Latinas on university health clinics and community health centers. However, under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) Congress stripped these low-cost drugs from hundreds of family planning providers and all university and college health centers–approximately 1,370 nationwide.
So what has been the impact of this change on Latinas?
A devastating impact: many Latinas have seen their birth control prices increase from $5 or $10 up to $40 or $50. While some colleges can no longer afford to carry birth control at all, many safety net providers are cutting back on staff, hours of operation, and services so that they can keep providing low and/or no cost birth control for their low-income patients.
What can you do?
Let your Congressperson know how important low cost birth control is to your reproductive health. Let them know that in order for us as Latinas to have safe and healthy lives, we need the tools and options to make autonomous and responsible decisions about our sexual and reproductive health. Call or write them today!!