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I know too many women who cannot afford birth control. As a woman who experienced severe cramping (which would often keep me from attending classes for days at a time) from her menstrual cycle, birth control provided me with the only possible relief from an utterly painful experience once a month. However, because of my mother’s comprehensive health insurance plan, I was able to receive my birth control at a relatively cheap price. I was a lucky one. Many of my friends could not obtain birth control simply because they could not afford it. For some, birth control could have reduced their cramping or acted as a contraceptive for them while having sex, but they were denied access to this little pill that possesses many benefits.

All women, regardless of socioeconomic status, should be entitled to no-cost birth control. What must it be like living as a low-income woman who needs birth control, whether it’s for contraception or for medically necessary reasons? Granted, birth control is a hot topic politically, but has the potential to directly affect the lives of millions of women across the country. In addition to the provision of no-cost birth control, programs must be in place to teach women that birth control is a valid option, for both contraception and medical purposes. Both women and young girls should learn about birth control in comprehensive sex education programs where birth control is finally destigmatized.

The Institute of Medicine has released recommendations on what preventive care for women should be covered at no-cost. They include: FDA-approved contraceptive methods, lactation support and counseling, and screening and counseling for intimate partner violence. These numerous recommendations are important for women and their families and will be one step in the direction of lowering the rate of contracted STIs as well as providing access to contraceptives for all women.

Want to take action? Sign the NWLC’s petition to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging her to support no-cost contraceptive coverage.  

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