Planned Parenthood Of Illinois To Offer Free Birth Control For A Year

by Cassandra Stone
Image via Scott Olson/Getty

Eligible participants can choose any birth control option they prefer, regardless of cost

Planned Parenthood clinics across the state of Illinois will offer free birth control for one year to eligible patients who cannot afford the cost.

The new Access Birth Control program will fully cover the costs of injectable birth control, vaginal rings, oral contraceptive pills, condoms, as well as long-term birth control options like IUDs and implants. This is exceptionally hopeful news amid the restrictions the Trump administration has been trying to place on contraceptive access and funding during the last two years.

What’s really great about this is that patients get to choose which birth control option they prefer. “A lot of the time, people will get the method that’s most cost-effective rather than the method that’s best for them,” Julie Lynn, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman, tells the Chicago Tribune. “We want everyone to have access to their preferred method of birth control without cost as a barrier.”

IUDs, which are highly effective, are also typically more expensive than other types of contraception. It’s awesome that the participants of the Access Birth Control program won’t have to make a choice based on cost.

Eligible patients for the program include those who don’t have insurance and pay out-of-pocket for their birth control. Others who are eligible include those who still can’t afford birth control, even on a sliding-fee scale.

Even patients who do have private health insurance are eligible — if they have a high, unmet deductible or if a patient is under their parents’ insurance. Patients who are not eligible for Medicaid, like undocumented immigrants, are also eligible for this program.

Now, before you start begging Planned Parenthood locations nationwide to start offering the same type of initiative — and it would be amazing if they could — this particular program is funded by a private philanthropy, Lynn tells the Chicago Tribune.

The Ilinois initiative will remain in place until 2021, but birth control is offered free to individual patients for only a year. Patients are still responsible for the cost of the clinic visit.

The Trump administration has made it increasingly difficult for women to receive affordable contraception. Last year, they announced that they’ll allow any employer to opt-out of providing birth control coverage in their health plans if they have a religious or moral objection. This goes entirely against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act provisions.

He’s also appointed two anti-choice zealots to elevated positions at the Department of Health and Human Services who have publicly stated that the IUD serves “life-ending purposes.” Trump has also appointed an anti-choice (among other pejoratives) Supreme Court justice in Brett Kavanaugh, who has already voted to limit women’s reproductive options.

All of this real-life Handmaid’s Tale garbage just makes it all the more crucial for organizations like Planned Parenthood to maintain the proper funding to keep birth control options and abortion access affordable for all women.