The BC4ME Campaign

By Tom Poulos

As college students it’s important to make sure that we know about an important opportunity to improve the lives of women in our country. The new health care bill recently passed by Congress holds the promise of no-cost birth control for all women.Mac Activists for Choice is the Macalester chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America, an organization that has helped lead the effort to protect access to abortion and to improve women’s access to birth control and other reproductive-health services in the new health care system. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun implementing the health care law in stages. In 2011, HHS will decide whether prescription birth control should be categorized as a preventive service under the Women’s Health Amendment.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is launching a public-education and mobilization campaign-called BC4ME (Birth Control for Me)-in support of no-cost birth control. The campaign’s primary goals are to secure designation of birth control as a no-cost women’s preventive service, and to demonstrate mainstream support for improved access to birth control.

How will no-cost birth control help women? Improving women’s access to birth control is one of the best ways to help prevent unintended pregnancy and thus reduce the need for abortion. Nearly one-third of teenage girls become pregnant before reaching the age of 20 and nearly half of all U.S. pregnancies are unintended. Moreover, no-cost birth control is especially important for women who cannot afford prescription contraception or a deductable. One in three women has struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.

Isn’t birth control already easy to get? Although 98 percent of women use contraception at some point in their lives, there are still 22 states that don’t require insurance companies to cover prescription birth control. We want to end this discrimination by making no-cost birth control part of the preventive services covered in the new health care system.

So what can I do to help make no-cost birth control a reality for women? Mac Activists for Choice will be hosting a number of events-such as petition gathering-to increase awareness throughout the remainder of the semester, but the best way to take direct action is calling the decision makers. Visit or text bc4me to 49609 to take action. Mac Activists for Choice meets in the basement of Kagin on Wednesdays at 8 pm.

Thomas Poulos is a Managing Editor for The MacWeekly. He can be reached at [email protected]