55 years ago this week, “The Pill,” marketed as Enova, became available by prescription. But, as for women across the US before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, cost was a significant barrier to access. At the time, the Pill cost about $10 a month–the equivalent of $80 a month today.
It’s worth noting that access without affordability isn’t really access at all. If the Affordable Care Act is overturned, women will again be at the mercy of insurance and drug companies when seeking birth control; those who can’t afford it won’t use it, and the rate of unintended pregnancies, which is now declining, will rise again.
Even if the Supreme Court does uphold the ACA, women still face significant barriers to affordability and access–from employers who refuse to pay for birth control on religious grounds, to a Congress that’s currently debating the elimination of all federal family planning funds, to Republicans who pretend they want to improve access to birth control by making it available without a prescription, but whose goal is really to make women pay for birth control that the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to provide for free.
If we want to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies, access to birth control is critical, and affordability is a critical part of access