A few years ago an aunt of mine was experiencing irregular periods and excess bleeding during her menstrual cycles. The only way she was able to regulate her period and avoid losing so much blood was by taking prescription birth control. She was fortunate enough to be able to afford birth control, a luxury that many struggling women don’t have. Unfortunately, while cases like what my aunt experienced is one that is shared so often by women, many are not able to afford prescription birth control. Roughly 19% of Latinos live below the poverty line. For them, spending thirty dollars a month on birth control is a burden to high to bare. Economic barriers such as poverty have an alarming affect on women’s reproductive health and especially for Latinas. Access to contraception is an important part of comprehensive reproductive health care and for Latinas, birth control by definition is prevention.
Earlier this week the Institute of Medicine recognized that contraception is an important part of women’s preventive care. We are excited that health care coverage for contraceptives will be provided for women in the same manner that other men’s and women’s preventive care is already covered, and also that HPV and HIV screenings will be included.
We now wait to see if HHS will adopt the recommendations, so we can take this important step toward access to contraception for all!
This post was part of the We’ve Got You Covered blog carnival hosted by the National Women’s Law Center
By Megan Donahue, DC Policy Intern, is supported by the Civil Liberties and Public Policy program