Lopez: Birth control needs to be widely accessible, affordable

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Collegian | Chloe Leline

(Graphic Illustration by Chloe Leline | The Collegian)

Dominique Lopez, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was put in place, nearly guaranteeing that people who need medical birth control, such as oral contraceptive pills, would have access to it for free with insurance. However, as the years have continued, the widespread accessibility of free birth control has not been achieved, and many still face a large number of barriers getting birth control.

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Why is that the case? Why is a prescription that is given to people to prevent pregnancies and also often to help regulate their menstrual cycles or moods so foreign and hard to receive?

Whether it is at a college campus, grocery store or gas station, traditional condoms are often free or about $1 per condom. Yet for uninsured people with uteruses who want to protect themselves — especially because they can’t always trust their partners — they can be forced to pay up to $600 to get medically provided birth control.

“Medical birth control is a personal choice for people with uteruses that allows them the opportunity to promote their own sexual health.”

These folks are required to also have a prescription in order to receive some types of birth control. Even then, not all of these options are always offered to people in rural or remote locations, and, according to the Power to Decide, “around 1.2 million of these women live in a country without a single health center offering the full range of methods.”

For individuals in those situations, they are considered to be living in a contraceptive desert. Many of these people have to “find a babysitter, take time off work or travel long distances to access their preferred birth control method,” according to Power to Decide.

This, however, is just one of the many hoops that individuals have to jump through to receive medical birth control. Some still face difficulties even after they have received a prescription from their doctors.

Medical birth control is a personal choice for people with uteruses that allows them the opportunity to promote their own sexual health. It also allows them to do what they want without worrying as much about getting pregnant or, in some forms, contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

However, individuals who have insurance associated with churches or schools that don’t promote contraceptive use often do not have medical birth control covered. This makes it so they never have the chance to have medical birth control and choose their own protection without paying large sums of money.

With abortion laws tightening and Roe v. Wade continuously debated throughout the nation, you would assume the reality of allowing these individuals to have more access to birth control options would be willingly accepted.

However, this nation has continued to prove that is not an option nor is it a reality that people with uteruses may ever experience within their lifetime. Not only are people with uteruses taxed more for menstruation products, they’re challenged in their own states for their right to make the choice to get an abortion.

“People claiming bodily autonomy should not be easier said than done — it should just be easier.”

Fortunately for Colorado State University students, having access to contraceptives isn’t as much of a problem as it is for many others in the world. The CSU Health Network — more specifically CSU Health Network Women’s Care services — offers eight different types of birth control options for students.

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People don’t always have the freedom to trust their partner’s ability to protect themselves from getting pregnant. This is why medical birth control should be more willingly offered like it is at CSU.

There shouldn’t be any restrictions placed on birth control nor should there have ever been. People claiming bodily autonomy should not be easier said than done — it should just be easier.

Having control over your own body and decisions is a right — one that people without uteruses have had for ages without having to face any pushback from government entities or their employers. Yet people with female sex organs have never had the opportunity to have this right easily afforded to them.

This shouldn’t be the reality. The idea of having to go through more than two steps to get birth control shouldn’t be something that is so willingly accepted nor should the reality of having to pay almost $600 to get medical birth control in comparison to only $1 per condom. Access should be cheaper, and providing this access safely and widely should be the new norm.

Reach Dominique Lopez at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @caffeinateddee6.