Most female students of Geneseo can and should be paying zero dollars for their preferred method of birth control. Just by filling out a few simple forms available at Lauderdale Center for Student Health & Counseling, one can have access to birth control without paying any out-of-pocket expenses. While this is extremely beneficial to the often-broke college student, the fact that Geneseo has let this free coverage go so incredibly unpublicized is a complete disgrace.
Through New York State’s Family Planning Benefit Program, all females between the ages of 10 and 64 who earn less than $500 per week––which includes most, if not all college students––are eligible to receive free birth control in the form of pills, injections, patches, diaphragms or inter-uterine devices––IUDs. Those who qualify for this program can also receive emergency contraceptive services like Plan B and transportation to family planning centers such as Planned Parenthood without paying a cent.
Regardless of where you stand on the pro-life/pro-choice debate, free birth control is a godsend for college-aged females. Each semester in a college student’s career means hundreds of dollars spent on textbooks, thousands of dollars spent on housing and tens of thousands of dollars spent on tuition. Clearly, one need not be reminded of how poor the modern college student is. Free birth control means one less item on an extremely long list of financial worries.
As a student currently financing myself with a minimum-wage job, I will admit that budgeting for birth control isn’t always easy when the cost of birth control is so high.
For those who have insurance, co-pays for oral birth control—the cheapest form of female birth control—range in price from as low as $5 per month to as high as $50 per month. That could add up to over $600 paid in out-of-pocket expenses per year. Other more expensive methods such as IUDs can cost up to several hundreds of dollars each month.
With the cost of birth control being so high and the cost of not having birth control being even higher, this institution should know better than to not clearly publicize the free birth control offered by the Family Benefit Program.
Sure, the availability of free condoms at Lauderdale is something that a majority of students are probably aware of. But putting the emphasis on free condoms rather than on free birth control for females implies that that safe sex is the responsibility of the male. Advertising the Family Benefit Program across campus would rightfully send the message that both women and men need to make sure that the sex they are having is safe sex, and that they have the power to take care of their bodies.
With condoms and oral birth control available for free at Lauderdale, there is no reason for male and female college students not to be educated about sexual health. I urge all women on campus to take charge of their sexual health by visiting Lauderdale to apply for the Family Planning Benefit Program.