Reps. Crowley, Schiff, Ryan, Ramstad, Kirk Unveil Bill to Restore Birth Control Access at College Clinics

Press Release

By:  Adam Schiff Mark Kirk Joe Crowley James Ramstad Tim Ryan
Date: Nov. 1, 2007
Location: Washington, DC

REPS. CROWLEY, SCHIFF, RYAN, RAMSTAD, KIRK UNVEIL BILL TO RESTORE BIRTH CONTROL ACCESS AT COLLEGE CLINICS

Commonsense, No-Cost Reform Will Bring Down Prices, Reduce Un-Wanted Pregnancies

Today, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) was joined by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in unveiling the bipartisan Prevention Through Affordable Access Act (HR 4054) - legislation to bring down the skyrocketing prices of birth control at college clinics throughout the United States.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, legislation that was implemented this year, has had a severe unintentional consequence. It included a provision that is now preventing all college clinics and hundreds of safety net healthcare providers from purchasing birth control from drug companies at an extremely discounted rate. As a result, many college clinics have stopped making birth control available to their students. For the colleges and universities that still do, prices have shot up from an average of $5 to nearly $50 per month. All told, many hard-working women can no longer access FDA-approved methods of birth control.

The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, which already has 101 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, would correct this mistake and once again allow pharmaceutical companies to sell birth control at a low, discounted rate to college clinics and safety-net healthcare providers. This legislation will not cost taxpayers a single dollar.

"A bureaucratic mistake should not stand in the way of protecting the health and safety of hard-working women," Crowley said. "My colleagues, who are interested in effectively preventing unintended pregnancies, ought to support this measure and join us in urging its immediate passage."

"This is the best kind of commonsense legislation," said Schiff. "It helps to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the incidence of abortion among college and low income women -- at no cost to the American taxpayer."

"Let's be frank with the American people: If Congress does not fix this problem, the cost of contraceptives will continue to rise, unintended pregnancies - especially on college campuses - will continue to rise, and more abortions will be the result," Ryan said. "This scenario should be unacceptable to every member of Congress¬óregardless of party or ideology. Congress should waste no time in fixing this mistake. If we're serious about giving students in our universities a chance to finish their degrees and become productive members of our economy, then we ought to help them avoid unintended pregnancies."

"It's time to restore the access to less costly prescription drugs that clinics deserve," Ramstad said.

"A technical oversight prevented many lower-income women from safe and low-cost contraceptives," Congressman Kirk said. "Contraceptive prices are up, forcing many college students to make difficult decisions regarding their personal health. In Illinois alone, 24 health centers are threatened and examples of hardships put upon women are well documented. This should not be a political debate - it should be a matter of restoring discounts to support women's health."

"Restoring affordable birth control for low-income women and university students is absolutely critical in our effort to reduce unintended pregnancies across the country," said Rep. Slaughter. "Today, there are already over 3 million undergraduates who have seen their birth control costs rise, in some schools soaring as high as 50 dollars. For low income women, the increase in price means deciding between feeding their families and buying contraception. This is simply unacceptable, and Congress has an obligation to the women and men of this country to urgently pass the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act."

"I applaud Congressman Crowley for taking action and introducing the Prevention through Affordable Access Act," said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "This bill is win-win. Access to affordable birth control is something Democrats and Republicans do agree on. It is mainstream, pro-prevention, pro-women's health legislation. And it won't cost the taxpayers a dime."