Reps. Crowley, Kirk, Ryan, Dent, & Schiff Reintroduce Bill To Restore Access To Affordable Birth Control For Millions Of Women Across The Nation

January 13, 2009
Press Release

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

Washington, D.C. Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) was joined by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Charles Dent (PA-15) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) in reintroducing the bipartisan Prevention Through Affordable Access Act (HR 398).  This commonsense, no-cost reform would reverse a legislative mistake that has put birth control out-of-reach for millions of women across the country.

Since January 1, 2008, the average cost of birth control for millions of women who receive health care at safety-net clinics and college health centers across the United States has gone up almost ten-fold.  In just a matter of months, the average price of birth control on college campuses increased from $5 to nearly $50.  As a result, many college health clinics have stopped providing birth control because they can no longer afford to do so.

The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act would correct the error made in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) and restore access to affordable birth control for millions of college-age and low-income women.  The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act would not cost the taxpayer anything, it would merely allow drug manufacturers to once again offer deeply discounted prices to safety net health care providers.

“A bureaucratic mistake should not stand in the way of protecting the health and safety of millions of women across the nation,” said Congressman Joseph Crowley.  “At no-cost to the American taxpayer, this simple legislative fix will restore affordable access to safe, effective birth control – reducing unplanned pregnancies and eliminating a considerable financial burden on millions of college-age and low-income women.  I am proud to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues Reps. Kirk, Ryan, Dent, and Schiff, and I am confident we will address this issue in the 111th Congress.”

“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, at least 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.”

“The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act is an attempt to make sure that women who have been impacted by the severe downturn of our economy still have access to affordable birth control,” Congressman Tim Ryan said.  “Prevention reduces the number of abortions in this country. It is our moral obligation, whether we are pro-life or pro-choice to do what we can to achieve that goal.”

“Representing a district with numerous colleges and universities, I strongly supported fixing this technical error,” said Congressman Charlie Dent.  “The deep discounts offered by drug manufacturers to college health clinics were a great benefit to the health and well-being of student populations, and they should be restored as soon as possible.”

“This is the best kind of commonsense legislation,” said Congressman Adam 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.”

“We applaud Congressman Joseph Crowley for introducing The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, which will improve access to affordable birth control for millions of women,” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  “As women and families struggle in these tough economic times, it is important they have access to affordable birth control. This pro-prevention, pro-women’s health legislation has bipartisan support. And it won't cost the taxpayers a dime.”