High Taxes Discourage Use of Birth Control in U.S.

January 27, 2011 Opinion

We live in a society that promotes safe sex as the highest degree of importance. America is a country lucky enough to have several resources available in the world of birth control (ex: condoms, the pill, diaphragm and many more). Because of this it seems, to me, that the ability to maintain a safe-sex lifestyle would be easy and birth control would be widely used throughout the United States. However, it has recently come to light that in the U.S., birth control is used one-third less than in European countries.

So, my question becomes: If birth control is so readily available here in the U.S., why is it not used to prevent unwanted pregnancy? I think there are several reasons that could provide explanation. In both the U.S. and Europe, birth control is taxed heavily and it is nondeductible. Therefore, while the products are there, they are not there for all financial classes. Birth control should be a product that goes untaxed or, at least, can be deductible. The prices of birth control options scare people away, causing them to take their chances with pregnancy or an STD.

What makes the situation in the U.S. different than in Europe is that, as of now in the U.S., abortion is legal and available everywhere under all circumstances but in Europe there are factors that go into whether or not a woman meets the qualifications to obtain an abortion. Because of this, women in the U.S. have the ability to use abortion as a means of birth control. As a pro-choice advocate, I believe the option of abortion is an important right for women to have; however, the fact that condoms (and other forms of birth control) are priced and taxed to an extent that forces women to turn to abortion, I do not support this and I feel it needs to be addressed.

Rather than fight against abortion, we need to fight for the availability of free contraceptives in the U.S. for citizens to use. Free or untaxed contraceptives would assist in lowering the number of abortions, unwanted pregnancies and STDs.

I realize these actions are easier said than done, but I feel that in a country that produces TV shows such as “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant,” it is more than apparent that the U.S. needs to have greater birth control availability. That alone may not solve all birth control issues, as some people still may choose to be risky with their sex lives and go unprotected. However, I feel confident that the U.S. would see a dramatically lower number in areas of controversy with the change of taxing and charging for birth control products.

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