If a year’s worth of Yale’s operating expenses were dedicated toward subsidizing the birth control pill, every female undergraduate would enjoy a constant supply — for more than 1,300 years.
And if the entire University endowment were put toward the same use? Don’t even ask. (Or try to imagine what a 1,500-decade supply of pills per female student might look like.)
In other words, at Yale — an institution with unfathomable resources — birth control pills can be subsidized.
And they should be.
Last week, Yale University Health Services stopped providing subsidized birth control pills, a direct result of the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which places a heavy financial burden on pharmaceutical companies that produce and distribute contraceptives to hospitals and colleges.
It goes back to basic economics.
The federal government, it turns out, is dictating personal health decisions — and by proxy furthering its moral agenda — under the guise of fiscal responsibility.
In effect, this legislation translates the financial burden of a nation into the health burden of female students.
Yale, therefore, has a responsibility to step in and subsidize the pill for every woman who chooses to take it.
Prior to the price hike, the average price of brand-name oral contraception offered at UHS ran about $13 for three months’ worth of pills. Now, the cost has risen to between $25 and $50.
For just a month’s supply, that is.
Without Yale’s support, students will be making choices about whether to use oral contraceptives for financial, rather than health, reasons. Yes, cheaper generic options exist for some brands of birth control. But they are not available for all, and they should not be our only option.
There’s more. Since gynecological tests — such as those for STDs and cervical cancer — are currently required at UHS before picking up a prescription for the pill, female reproductive health may suffer if the contraceptive is not as readily available as it once was.
Yale’s financial aid mission professes that students should not have to make one of their most important life decisions — whether or not to attend Yale — based on monetary considerations. By the same token, it is intolerable that we can no longer make decisions about our sexual health and general well-being with the same degree of freedom and personal responsibility.
College is expensive. But sex — and sexual responsibility — should not be.