To the Editor:
I would like to thank the News for drawing attention to the increased prices of birth control on campus (“Birth Control jumps after act slashes funding,” 10/22). The increase in pricing will have widespread ramifications for college students, both men and women — consequences that go beyond the scope of personal finances and ultimately affect students’ personal relationships and sexual health.
At $50 a month, birth control will become unaffordable to some women on campus. This will alter the sexual relationships some women have with their partners, whether this results in less frequent engagement in sex or in the use of less reliable methods of contraception. The consequences of such decisions impact more students than just the ones who swallow the pill.
Perhaps more startling than the effect it can have on relationships around campus is the way in which the increase in birth control pricing can and will negatively impact student health. If fewer women are able to buy birth control at their college health centers, fewer women will have cause to get yearly gynecological exams, which are essential to preventing and/or treating a slew of health problems, including STDs and cancers. Low- cost birth control is essential to students’ abilities to manage their sexual health and reproductive futures. If we want students to take responsibility for their sexual actions, we must make the use of birth control a feasible option.
Forcing students to decide between buying books for the semester or maintaining their sexual health is unacceptable. It is essential that we as college students stand up for ourselves and contact our legislators. We must demand that they, as our representatives, take the initiative to change the legislation in the Federal Deficit Reduction Act that dissuades pharmaceutical companies from offering low-cost birth control to college health centers. The consequences of remaining silent are too far-reaching to ignore.
Hunter is a Campus Intern for Planned Parenthood and a member of RALY. She is a sophomore in Branford College.