Editorial: Free condoms, please?

By Staff Editorial

Roommates can often serve as obstacles to you getting all the action you want and probably… Roommates can often serve as obstacles to you getting all the action you want and probably deserve. But another problematic barrier for some is the cost of birth control. While pregnancy is surely an expensive endeavor, preventing it is also expensive for females. Oral contraceptives can cost up to $60 a month, and condoms generally retail at around $8 for a 12-pack.

According to The New York Times, the Obama administration is considering whether the new health-care law can include provisions that require insurance plans to offer contraceptives and other family-planning services to women free of charge.

Although such measures would serve to reduce some of the unintended pregnancies in the United States — and about half of U.S. pregnancies are unintended — just because an oral contraceptive is available doesn’t mean it will be used correctly.

However, we feel that free or reduced cost contraceptives would be beneficial to women of certain ages — including college students. We especially advocate for free or less-expensive condoms for insured individuals of certain ages — not because we’re extremely horny or anything — but because this would remove any oral contraceptive controversy or sexism from the mix. In addition, providing free or reduced-rate condoms would also be proactive in protecting against sexually transmitted infection.

While we don’t necessary want to promote more sex by promoting cheaper or free birth control, we can’t deny the fact that a lot of young people want to and will find a way to have sex. Any resulting unintended pregnancies are consequently life changing. Preventing these “accidents” can only be a positive advancement.

We believe birth control is a preventive health service that insurers are supposed to cover free of charge. Currently, one argument against free birth control holds that pregnancy is not a “disease” that requires prevention.

But we have to argue that there are legitimate health risks involved in pregnancy — especially for young girls. According to The National Women’s Health Information Center, pregnancy-related health problems include, but are not limited to, anemia, depression and high blood pressure. In addition, pre-existing health complications can be worsened by pregnancy.

Because the preventive services offered to women at no cost under the health-care law will not be determined until Aug. 1, we recommend consulting Student Health Services for more affordable birth control. Oral contraceptives are sold — with prescription — for about $15 to $30 for certain brands and might even cost less with your insurance. Condoms are also available at reduced cost for $3.50 and $4 for 12-packs.