Contraception Is Expensive: Men and the Little Green Ones

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According to this article in the Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, the increase in contraceptive costs sold at student health centers on college campuses and some clinics is a “crisis.” David S. Cohen previously blogged about the issue here.

The cost of birth control pills has skyrocketed because the law changed to eliminate the incentive drug companies had to provide colleges with large discounts on some drugs. The News and Observer also report on this issue here.

I had a friend in college whose boyfriend used to take the green (inactive) pills for the seven days of her “off” week. This was his act of solidarity with her, meant to sensitize him to the responsibility of taking a pill at approximately the same time every day and the uncertainties that arise when we ingest synthetic material. It seemed like a progressive experiment at the time. But with the increased costs of oral contraceptives, I’d rather have a partner pay 50% of the cost of the pills, instead of taking the little green ones.

-Bridget Crawford

This entry was posted in Feminism and Culture, Reproductive Rights, Women and Economics, Women's Health. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Contraception Is Expensive: Men and the Little Green Ones

  1. LB says:

    Given the 8th Circuit’s recent opinion in the Union Pacific RR. Employment Litigation case, 2007 WL 763842 (8th Cir. 2007) that failure of an employer-sponsored health insurance plan to cover contraceptives is not sex discrimination under Title VII or a violation of the PDA, it looks like sharing these expenses will be our only solution until Congress acts to redefine the PDA to include contraception as part of pregnancy discrimination or to call it is as it is and just declare this sex discriimination. We are in a time again of ridiculous “formal equality analysis” in situations for which formal equality ignores the real world. This decision is reminiscent of Geduldig v. Aiello and Gilbert v. GE in which the Court found that exclusion of pregnancy benefits was not sex-based discrimination because it divided the world into pregnant and non-pregnant persons, instead of women and men. For contraception, the 8th Cir. refused to use the category of prescription contraceptives and said the law treated men and women equally because it did not cover condoms either. Could they really be serious? What world do these folks live in? How could purchasing prescription contraceptives on a regular basis (ever more expensive, as the above post notes) be understood as equivalent to the purchase of condoms (as needed)? And, what makes judges think that sexually active women don’t also buy condoms for self-protection?
    The same kind of reasoning, a “sexblind” view of the world, led the 9th circuit to refuse to acknowledge (“take judicial notice of”) real world conditions in Jespersen v. Harrah’s, 444 F.3d 1104 (9th Cir. en banc, 2006) where the majority found that a workplace “grooming” standard requiring a woman to wear make-up (in order to look her “Personal Best”) did not impose an “unequal burden” on women employees and also was not sex-discrimination, since there was also a standard requiring men to shave (in order to look their “Personal Best”). No doubt under that standard, women would also not look our “personal best” if we didn’t “shave” (although Harrah’s did permit female bartenders to wear pants!), but the added expense and time (not to mention humiliation of being told that one cannot appear in one’s job without make-up) of purchasing and applying make-up was not sufficiently evident to the court to be considered a burden withoutspecific evidentiary proof.
    Not to be a consipiracy-theorist or anything, but what is one to understand from the combined facts that women still earn only 70-some percent of what men earn and women are required to pay for contraception and required make-up for work from our lesser wages about the supposed eradication of “sex-based discrimination” in our society?