Birth control prices rise in wake of deficit reduction act

Maliha Jafri

Birth control prices are on the rise, doubling, tripling or even going five times higher.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 went into effect January 2007, and has eliminated most discounts for campus and low-income health centers.

“This has a big impact on women and their way of life,” said June Kwon, 20, a women’s studies major and Women’s Studies Student Association (WSSA) president. “This is another attack on our rights as women.”

The WSSA and the Women’s Resource and Research Center (WRRC) are working together with the Feminine Majority Foundation to gather signatures to petition and overthrow the bill.

CSUN’s population is 60 percent women, with 39 percent of them on birth control from the campus health center.

Women use birth control not just for contraception, but also for a regular menstruation cycle, reduce cramps, with most of the women on birth control ages 15-30.

The student health center on campus offers the Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care and Treatment) program. Qualified students can get low-cost reproductive health services including contraception, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing with counseling, male and female sterilization and STI testing and treatment.

The basic qualifications for the Family PACT program are that a single person make less than $1,702 a month or less than $20,420 a year. Women must be under 55, men under 60, and the person must be living in California.

Some women who don’t qualify for the Family PACT because they earn more than then the requirement, also have other bills to pay, which doesn’t leave them with much at the end of the day.

With the increasing cost of birth control, “for some it might be food or birth control,” said Stephanie Montes, 22, women’s studies major, assistant director at the WRRC and vice president of the WSSA. “It can also lead to possible abortion.”

“At most, five percent of our students pay for contraceptives through the health center but 95 percent are on Family PACT program,” said Stan Edick, a pharmacist at the CSUN health center.

“CSUN tries to get everything to the advantage of its students, we were lucky we got it when we did,” said Edick.

According to Edick, the state has gotten institutions such as CSUN to get generic oral contraceptives to keep the costs low. Currently, it cost $18 per cycle through CSUN for those not on Family PACT, compared to an original cost of $30. But, the $18 is an increase from $8.

“We try to keep it low cost or no cost for our students,” said Sharon Aronoff, who works with student health outreach at the health center.

CSUN started to collect signatures in mid-October. Currently, they have collected 400 and are aiming for 1000, said Montes. “We are taking it home and to friends as well as around campus, just trying to get everyone to support us,” said Montes.

According to Montes, they are not sure how many total signatures are needed, but they are tabling, passing out fliers and doing everything they can to get as many as possible.

The birth control campaigns’ “ultimate goal is to get this bill overturned,” said Kwon.

Kwon and Montes said they attended a conference where colleges came together and even out of state schools were present. There, they spoke about how to get started, shared their experiences, and gave advice.

“We just try to get the word out there. It’s our community, it’s our campus and they need to know,” said Kwon.

What’s your contraception?