Tax-funded contraceptives to give women more options

By Gus Bode

All women will soon have access to tax-funded birth control, thanks to the Obama administration.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a health care law implemented by the administration throughout the course of the year, will require health insurance plans to cover birth control.

The Obama administration said tax-funded birth control is  part of an expanded preventive care plan for women that will also include coverage of breast pumps for nursing mothers, annual physicals and counseling on sexually transmitted diseases and domestic violence.

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Rheanna Pulley, a junior from Creal Springs studying creative writing, said she thinks the law is a good idea, as she said she was concerned about those who need  contraceptives but can’t afford them.

“People should have options, especially now that not a lot of people can have jobs,” she said. “Having a baby when you don’t have a job is not the best situation.”

According to a USA Today article, tens of millions of women are expected to gain initial coverage.

Illinois is one of 27 states that requires insurance providers to cover contraceptives, but as of January 2013, all states will offer the same coverage.

Many students use birth control on campus, said Sue Chaney, pharmacy supervisor of the Student Health Center.

“We see a fair number of students coming in and picking up oral contraceptives,” she said.

According to the Guttmacher Institute — an institution that seeks to advance sexual and reproductive health through research and education — 28 percent of women who use contraceptives choose the pill form, and of the 2.9 million teenage women who use contraceptives, 54 percent use the pill.

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Kelsy Kretschmer, an assistant professor of sociology, said she sees the act as a feminist victory for college-age women.

“This is really going to give women control over their reproductive choices,” she said. “There has been a historical concern about availability for women. And if you make it contingent on being able to have insurance and pay for it out of pocket, so only wealthy women have control over their reproductive choices.”

Some students expressed concern about how the law will affect distribution of tax money.

Nick Neal, a junior from Effingham studying cinema, said he opposes using tax dollars to fund birth control.

“In taxing, the government is using coercion to fund another person’s lifestyle,” he said. “There are some people who are against birth control and it would be wrong to make them pay for it.”

Some women, such as Kaci Clark, a junior from Pawnee studying psychology, take the pill for medical reasons other than contraception.

“There are people using it for medical reasons, like menstrual pain and acne, that can’t afford it,” she said.

Josh Steffes, a junior from Bloomington studying cinematography and radio-television, said he is concerned that people who don’t need tax-funded medication like contraception will take advantage of the system.

“People are allowed to make their own responsible adult decisions. However, in general, taxes for the government to pay for other people are not necessarily as effective, especially when these are things that people should pay for themselves,” he said.

 

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