Pushback against President Obama's birth control mandate has revealed the scale of ignorance some men have regarding how much birth control costs. What's the big deal with having to pay for your own birth control? It's just a few bucks! Pocket change! Not exactly.
Last week, Rick Santorum told a crowd at CPAC that birth control is a "minor expense" that only costs "a few dollars." And another famous idiot, Republican Representative Tom Price, challenged a reporter from ThinkProgress to "bring me one woman" who hasn't been able to get birth control due to cost constraints. "There's not one," he concluded.
According to a new report from The Center for American Progress, the cost of birth control is prohibitive or hardship-inducing for a number of women that would likely cause Rick Santorum's sweatervest to burst into flames. Three fourths of women of reproductive age have private insurance, but even with private insurance, women often have to shoulder more of the cost of birth control than do plan participants with other prescriptions, which can run upwards of $50 per month, depending on the method.
The high cost of birth control has prompted 25% of women who make less than $75,000 per year to put off going to the doctor. About 29% of women in the same income range have used their birth control method incorrectly in an attempt to try to make it last longer. And half of women haven't used their method as directed because it's cost-prohibitive.
The CAP report cites economic hardship or prohibitive cost of child rearing as women's primary reason for delaying pregnancy, which counters the conservative meme that women on birth control don't want to have babies so they can go clubbing every night and spend their days laying on their zebra print couches and eating penis-shaped bon bons.
Without insurance, women could have it even worse. The Pill, for example, can cost $850 per year when you include the cost of a doctor's visit. The patch and ring can set users back $1200 per year. And sterilization costs around $6,000 without insurance. More methods and their costs can be found in this handy chart.
That's pretty far from "a few bucks." Unless you're Mitt Romney and you made $30,000 during the time it took you to read this sentence.