Increase Federal Family Planning Funding
Millions of women in the United States do not have access to affordable birth control and publicly funded family planning. Expanding Medicaid at a state level – currently 25 states still need to expand Medicaid – and increasing Title X funding are critical elements in a quest to empower women. Low-income women are more than four times more likely than affluent women to experience an unwanted pregnancy.
What You Can Do:
- Keep an eye on state-level cuts and access to family planning services. Since the 2010 election, state family planning funding has been cut sharply. In three states, Montana, New Hampshire, and Texas, funding was cut disproportionately to other state budget cuts, with MT eliminating it entirely, New Hampshire cutting it by 57%, and TX by 66%. In New Jersey, the Governor has eliminated by line-item veto $7.5 million in family planning every year since 2010, and the state legislature has not had the necessary two-thirds majority vote to override the veto.
- Raise awareness about the need for Title X and efforts to defund it with a rally or public education campaign on your campus such as a teach-in or poster campaign.
- Talk with your Senators and Representatives about the critical need for family planning funding.
Make Low-cost Contraception Available at University Health Centers
For almost 20 years, pharmaceutical companies were able to offer a steep discount on prescription drugs, including birth control pills, to college health centers and clinics serving lowincome women. This allowed these clinics and health centers to pass those savings onto patients. In 2005, the Federal Deficit Reduction Act passed without the provision specifying this discount, leading to a dramatic increase in the price of birth control on college campuses. Thankfully, in 2009 the discount program was reinstated by Congress. Make sure your campus restores affordable birth control.
- Visit your health center and confirm that it distributes birth control. If it does, find out what kind it offers and how much is charged for each type (including pills, the hormone shot, the ring, and other options).
- If your center does not offer low-cost birth control, set up a meeting with the health center director. Ask if they are aware of the passing of the 2009 Omnibus bill, which allows college health centers and clinics serving low income people to purchase and sell prescription drugs at a low rate. Offer to work with the center to improve prices.
- If you meet resistance, strategize. Call your Choices National Campus Organizer at 703-522-2214 (East Coast) or 310-556-2500 (West Coast), or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share experiences and learn about what is going on at other colleges. The Feminist Majority Foundation is working with the American College Health Association and is aware of what is happening nationwide. Your story is important and you are part of a national movement to increase birth control access!
- Organize students on your campus to demonstrate the need for low-cost birth control: hold a teachin on contraception and family planning, circulate petitions among students and faculty, and meet with administrators.