Monday, April 28, 2008

Write to Congress about BC prices

Planned Parenthood has an action alert to write your congress members about the price of birth control here. There are a couple of bills coming up in the next few weeks that will fix the unintended price hike, so now's the time to write.

Here's an excerpt from the letter:

The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act (H.R. 4054 / S. 2347) -- legislation that would make a no-cost, technical fix to the DRA and restore safety-net and university clinics' ability to access low-cost contraceptives -- has 170 cosponsors in the House, and 35 in the Senate. This legislation would not cost either the federal government or state Medicaid agencies anything. It would merely allow drug manufacturers to offer deeply discounted prices to safety-net health care providers. If you have not done so already, please co-sponsor the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act and tell congressional leadership that this problem must be resolved immediately.
And the link to PP again, just in case you didn't click on it the first time.

40 comments:

Goose said...

It is not the government's duty, obligation, or right to tell the drug companies (or any company) how to conduct their business as long as they follow applicable laws, which it appears they have. If you don't like the price of the pill buy condoms, get it tied off, keep it in your pants, or take your chances. There are other options available if you can't afford the pill.

Jezabel said...

The government should not be held responsible for your sex life. That's what insurance is for. And if your insurance doesn't cover it, then there are other "cheaper" methods.

But in all reality, I don't know what you guys are on but what I'm on is not as expensive as you guys make it sound. It's not bankrupting me... hell, I barely even notice the cost.

Lindsay said...

I'm glad you can afford your birth control. Not everyone can.

Jezabel said...

Not everyone can afford $15/month??? They have free clinics for those people...

Lindsay said...

Not all birth control is $15/month. Mine isn't. Have a problem with it? Don't write a letter. It's really as easy as that.

all american girl said...

My birth control is $20/month, it just depends on what your doctor puts you on.

OutcrazyOphelia said...

Actually birth control isn't one use. For instance, Yaz is recommended for PMDD sufferers and I know I was first prescribed birth control due to my irregular periods. But I guess because its most popular use is contraception, it's okay for its price to remain inaccessible for some.

Anonymous said...

outcrazyophelia - do you want to rephrase that? I caught none of it.

OutcrazyOphelia said...

The comments to the effect of it's no ones responsibility but yours to protect your sexual health, I believe, are in error since birth control is used for a myriad of health problems in addition to contraception. It doesn't make much sense to be alright with the price of birth control simply because of one of its uses when there are women who need it to control other problems besides pregnancy prevention. Not that one should be punished for using contraception in the first place, but that point of view ignores the women who use birth control pills for other things.

Casper said...

Health Insurance. It exists for a reason.

Lindsay said...

Not everyone has health insurance. Easy accessibility exists for a reason.

OutcrazyOphelia said...

Insurance is easy to get so long as you have no preexisting conditions.

margie sanger said...

But still, ever since Dr. Alletta Jacob opened up the first birth control clinic in Amsterdam in 1882 there has been birth control that is made accessable to the masses. It's only a matter of getting off your duff and going and obtaining it, either at a clinic or from a doctor.

OutcrazyOphelia said...

"It's only a matter of getting off your duff and going and obtaining it, either at a clinic or from a doctor."

I hate to nitpick, but simply because the services exist doesn't mean they're accessible to everyone. I'm thinking specifically of women in rural areas who may not have access to the transportation they need to reach the nearest facility. I'm reminded of the problems women have reported in getting to clinics and such that provide abortions. There are plenty of obstacles that you or I wouldn't consider to be a big deal that could affect someone's health care.

margie sanger said...

I find it hard to believe that people in the country are so poor that they have no mode of transportation from their residence to any form of health care. And this is not a quesiton of abortions, this is a question of birth control.

Amelia said...

Sorry, Margie, if you cannot believe that at least some people in America are so poor and have no access to transportation. That's not the case for me, but that doesn't mean that it's not true for others.

Anyway, we have to consider those who are so poor, so disadvantages. We can't just work to promote the benefits and rights of the well-off. At least I won't stand for that sort of thing. My view strives to be inclusive.

K. Elizabeth said...

Finished!

One more letter sent.

I like the info they provide, but I think writing a personal letter is more effective.

I used to work in an office that received mass letter campaigns. And after the 2nd it doesn't mean very much.

So, for all of you that are writing - be creative and share your personal story.

OutcrazyOphelia said...

"I find it hard to believe that people in the country are so poor that they have no mode of transportation from their residence to any form of health care."

That's a shame that you honestly don't believe that they exist, but they do. Additionally, the reference to abortion was an example--and example of another health service that is not easily accessible to all women, even if the services exist.

The question here is about accessibility, and it won't be solved by pretending that there are no such women as those who can't afford birth control/don't have easy access to free birth control providers. Honestly, if they didn't exist, why would I be speaking about them? If birth control was easily affordable to all who seek it, and failing that insurance was readily available to all women regardless of current health condition, and every woman had a way to get to the nearest free clinic failing those other two options, I wouldn't be speaking on these points in the first place. Everything would be ideal, and there would be no need to write letters about the matter.

Andrew said...

I am with the conservies on this one. I do not believe that it is the governments responsibility to regulate the cost of birth control items. As we expect that it is not the government's responsibility to govern our personal relationships (as with the GLBT community), we cannot expect it to be the responsible for financially managing them either.

The problems caused by the price of birth control are better addressed, in my opinion, by funding high school sex-education programs, as well as advocating a public health plan that calls for universal coverage to some degree.

Goose for once has a point, if you can not afford chemical birth control, there are more affordable, methods, (generally barrier contraceptives) that while not as reliable, are clearly reliable enough for the UN's WHO to advocate the widespread use and distribution of. If the affordable method is not secure enough for one to use, they should show some responsibility and as he said, "keep it in their pants".

On a related tangent, I do think this

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3543478/

shows promise for ending the disparity in contraceptive costs between men and women. Although I find the reported male reluctance to use chemical birth control when women use it all the time, is a bit sad.

If anyone feels I am wildly off base, I am open to honest discussion on the matter.

margie sanger said...

Outcrazyophelia-
That's a shame that you honestly don't believe that they exist, but they do. Additionally, the reference to abortion was an example--and example of another health service that is not easily accessible to all women, even if the services exist.

I've seen rural poverty. I've seen extreme cases of rural poverty. And even they have transportation to health services - either by their own means or with the help of a relative or neighbor.

If birth control was easily affordable to all who seek it, and failing that insurance was readily available to all women regardless of current health condition, and every woman had a way to get to the nearest free clinic failing those other two options, I wouldn't be speaking on these points in the first place. Everything would be ideal, and there would be no need to write letters about the matter.

In all reality, it is. Get over it. You are complaining about yet another non-issue.

OutcrazyOphelia said...

Andrew,

My quibble still lies in the belief that birth control pills are only for contraception. The message seems to be that there should be no aid for the price of contraception, but what about those women who need it to regulate hormones? Should they receive no help because the medication also allows them to have safer sex?

OutcrazyOphelia said...

"In all reality, it is. Get over it. You are complaining about yet another non-issue."

You must live in a reality absent of mine then, because birth control certainly isn't as readily available to all who seek it in the manner you suggest and again, if it was, this post wouldn't exist. I think you're the one talking about a non issue, as in, the perfect availability and distribution of birth control. It's what people are working for, not something that already exists.

Jezabel said...

I've seen rural poverty. I've seen extreme cases of rural poverty. And even they have transportation to health services - either by their own means or with the help of a relative or neighbor.

I partially agree with Margie. I've spent some time with the impoversihed people in the hills of Kentucky, and they always have transportatioon. People, especially down south, are neighborly like that - they help their neighbors when they are need, both financially and if they need transportation to health care.

margie sanger said...

It's not that it's a perfect system - it's just not as big of an issue as you make it out to sound. You seem to make everything a worst case scenario... "If a single blind woman with one leg, three kids, and a lame dog lives in the middle of nowhere south dakota and has no job, car, family, or insurance - how is she supposed to get birth control?" There are exceptions to every rule, yet the "issue" is not as bad as you claim.

OutcrazyOphelia said...

"It's not that it's a perfect system - it's just not as big of an issue as you make it out to sound. You seem to make everything a worst case scenario... "If a single blind woman with one leg, three kids, and a lame dog lives in the middle of nowhere south dakota and has no job, car, family, or insurance - how is she supposed to get birth control?" There are exceptions to every rule, yet the "issue" is not as bad as you claim."

I haven't claimed anything except the experiences of those who don't fit inside your rule. They do exist and should be accounted for in a discussion about accessibility. Birth control access is something affects those in the majority of cases and the "exceptions". Also, I don't think the suggestion of women who don't have easy access to transportation or a close clinic, or insurance is far fetched. I know women like that, and will be one within the next few months--and no, I'm not one legged, or blind, with no friends or family. But I exist all the same.

Goose said...

Birth control access is something affects those in the majority of cases and the "exceptions"

Whatever happened to majority rule, and the minority keeps their voice.If it works for the majority of cases, In a democracy that is the proper system to adopt. Honestly though, For those few people who honestly cannot afford the pill, there are other forms available.

casper said...

agreed.

Goose said...

Just food for thought, what kind of research is there into a pill for the man to take?

This website brought the issue to my conciseness, and I really think there should be strides made for it. Until that time, the man really has no true choice short of abstinence, since the woman could (in theory, not saying most would) stick him with a child he does not want, and demand support payments for the next 18-21 years.

Here is the site, not sure how to put it as a hyperlink in a comment, sorry. Somebody tell me if yo ucan't copy and paste it into the browser bar correctly.

http://www.violentacres.com/archives/132/why-dont-men-have-a-birth-control-pill

OutcrazyOphelia said...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080326202641.htm
Apparently there have been some breakthroughs in male reversible contraception but there's more testing needed.

Ted said...

whats wrong with responsibility falling upon the male to take an oral contraceptive? I see no problem with it at all if it proves to be a safe and effective way of contraception. I honestly am glad to see this happening finally.

Andrew said...

ophilia: I recognize that there are women who do benefit from BC, in the way you mentioned. And while this measure, if successful, would put such tools in their hands, I still feel their ends would be better served through health-care reform, while this measure will aid those who would rather not be faced with accountability, responsibility, or consequences as well.

However I will renege on my original stance, as it was based on the principal that the government should not force an enterprise to charge a set price deemed fit by the government (within reason).

Upon further reflection, it occurs to me that the government would supply these products to institutions having directly paid a portion of the price (likely taken from taxes) to the company, thus making them available for low cost. If this is the case then I can support the measure, as it is not my place to judge what moral shortcomings the people who will take advantage of this program may exercise (if indeed any at all).

Goose said...

I actually agree with Ted, I hope this technology works out soon. Until that time that it does though, It is the responsibility of the woman, and a condom. That is really all there is.

Anonymous said...

amen.

Ted said...

no, i dont believe that its the responsibility of "the woman." both sides need to take an active part in preventing unwanted side effects. yes, the female has to take the drug, but the decision, i believe, is shared; just as the responsibility and any outcomes are.

Goose said...

Ted, I really think we agree, it is only semantics separating us. In a previous debate, I made the "the guy should pay half" argument, and it was immediately smeared. I feel that he needs an equal voice in what happens to any child he may create. Not more than the woman, but truly equal, since although she does have to "endure" childbirth, both parties are equally responsible for the creation of that child, and its welfare for another minimum 18 years after its birth.

Lindsay said...

Until that time that it does though, It is the responsibility of the woman, and a condom.
I think you mean to say the responsibility of the couple. If you rail about how people need to be responsible for their choices, that includes men and women.

If I were a man and concerned about getting my partner pregnant, I would be damn sure I wore a condom every time we had sex, especially if it was a casual encounter. While many women are very good about taking birth control, if you're having a casual sexual encounter with someone you don't know very well, you'd want to make sure there's at least one form of birth control (not to mention STI protection). I think in an established relationship with someone you trust, it's not as much of an issue.

But by and far, the responsibility of making sure a couple uses some form of birth controls falls to both partners.

Goose said...

Linsdey, It may have been poorly stated, but that was my point. Until there is another reliable male form of BC, The man has to rely on whatever the woman is taking and a condom.

ted said...

oh, and just a funny thought i had; how does an inanimate object(such as a condom) hold responsibility (especially over something such as "the smartest creature on earth")...

Lindsay said...

Ok, just making sure. I know if I was man, I would be doing everything I knew how to make sure I didn't knock up someone.

FeministGal said...

Lindsay, this is totally off topic but i just realized you're from new haven - i live in hamden... i've never "met" a feminist blogger so close to home! :) are you involved in any activism around new haven? i'd love to get involved in something off the internet - feel free to email me at feministgal@gmail.com

thanks!