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Recently, the cost of hormonal forms of birth control such as the pill and the patch, among others, have skyrocketed. At least if you're buying them from a campus health clinic. Up until this year, pharmaceutical companies gave colleges deep discounts on contraception. Time Magazine explains why costs have gone up so much and The Chicago Sun-Times gives an example of the consequences.
What happens when you can no longer afford your primary method of birth control? It sounds like many young women are being forced to answer that question but I'm not seeing any easy answers. Many women are not, for various reasons, able to use their parents insurance to pay for birth control and cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket. Between things like a complete lack of insurance, some parents' negative reactions to finding their children are sexually active, or simply being a broke college student already working to pay for groceries and tuition having a monthly bill increase up to three times its previous cost can have a very negative impact.
Condoms are an obvious solution and a wonderful one: not only do they prevent pregnancy, they also offer protection from STIs. However, condoms do not regulate periods, ease cramps, help with hormonal conditions, or any of the other reasons women use birth control beyond the prevention of an unwanted pregnancy. How are these women affected? How many women now have to cut into the grocery budget or the rent money to pay for a medical necessity that has doubled in price?
Some states do have programs of their own offering low-cost family planning, including contraception. We have a thread linking some of these programs. Please add information to it if you're familiar with a program not listed. Local health departments and Planned Parenthood frequently offer low cost birth control as well. On the boards we're discussing how to cope with this and other safer sex expenses; come share ideas or resources with us.