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Good News for Wombs: U.S. Paves Way for Free Birth Control Everywhere

The health department has made birth control covered under the new health care law, putting us ahead of progressive nations like France and Canada.


Last week, we contemplated how much money a woman would save in her lifetime if women's basic health needs covered under the Affordable Care Act. Today, it's official: They will be! The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that health care like birth control and "well woman" physicals will be copay-free starting August 1, 2012.

This is a huge deal for women and their families, and a huge relief for those who predicted some meddling from Congress. But it's a travesty that it's taken our health care system so long to subsidize birth control. Women's rights activists have long advocated for a more accessible way to prevent unintended pregnancies. Many studies (and common sense) indicate that free access to birth control does indeed reduce abortion rates and save the government money in the long run. Given that 99 percent of American women will use birth control at some point in their lives, there's no reason why this legislation should have been delayed, let alone debated.

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Shilling The Male Pill: How To Sell Men Birth Control

Male birth control is a tough sell, which may be why it doesn't exist yet. We come up with a few ad campaigns to pique dudes' interest.


There's a joke in the medical community that no matter what year it is, an alternative male birth control method is always ten years away. And it’s true—doctors have been promising an option beyond condoms and vasectomies since the 1960s. Some scientists have taken a stab at it, most recently with the invention of RISUG, a one-time injection that is supposedly both side effect-free and reversible. Yet nothing ever seems to get approved and make it to market. What the hell is taking so long?

Men aren’t alone here. As we pointed out a few months ago, pharmaceutical companies aren’t exactly rushing to innovate new birth control for women, either. Part of the problem is biology; the human reproductive system is a complex thing. But when it comes to the possibility of a male pill, there’s also that pesky problem of marketing. What kind of dude is going to buy a birth-control drug meant to protect another person from pregnancy? There are financial and emotional concerns to having an unwanted child, but ultimately men are affected indirectly. It’s a tough sell.

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Why Isn’t Birth Control Getting Better?

The 43 million American women who use it want better options.

One of the worst feelings in the world, if you are a modern, feminist-inclined woman, is when you realize that your life kinda resembles a birth-control commercial. On more occasions than I can count, I've found myself in a large group of women, most of us heterosexual, sexually active, and in our twenties, sitting around complaining about how we’re completely unhappy with our chosen contraceptive method. (Better than sitting around talking about how yogurt turns us on, I guess.)

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