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Sandra Fluke, Contraceptives and Politics

WASHINGTON – Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh’s response to her is still front and center in the news. But as with many things in Washington, the facts have been overshadowed by politics. The Georgetown Law student testified to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee last month that contraception can cost a law student over $1000 annually. Some quick fact checking by CNS revealed that figure to be grossly inflated.

The investigation found that a Target store not three miles from the Washington law school offers a month supply of birth control pills for only $9 to people who do not have insurance plans covering contraceptives. Instead of the $3000 price tag quoted by Fluke and repeated by the main stream media, that makes the cost of contraceptives $324 for three years.

Fluke was the only witness appearing before an all-Democratic panel chaired by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Feb. 23. Fluke is past president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice and was testifying in support of the Obamacare regulation that requires all health insurance plans—including those offered by Catholic universities—to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives.

“Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school,” Fluke said. “For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary. Forty percent of female students at Georgetown Law report struggling financially as a result of this policy.”

Fluke painted a picture of hopelessness and humiliation for female Georgetown students unable to pay for contraceptives. “One student told us of how embarrassed and powerless she felt when she was standing at the pharmacy counter, learning for the first time that contraception wasn’t covered, and had to walk away because she couldn’t afford it,” said Fluke. “Women like her have no choice but to go without contraception.”

“Just last week,” Fluke testified, “a married female student told me she had to stop using contraception because she couldn’t afford it any longer. Women employed in low wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face the same choice.”

“You might respond that contraception is accessible in lots of other ways,” Fluke told the Democratic panel. “Unfortunately, that’s not true.” found a far different reality when it visited the Target store at 3100 14th St., NW, in Washington, D.C., just 3 miles from the Georgetown Law campus. For customers without health insurance coverage for birth control that Target offers Tri-Sprintec, the generic form of the birth-control pill Ortho Tri-Cyclen. A month’s supply of that generic is less than $10 per month.

A CVS pharmacy only two blocks from the Georgetown Law campus also sells a month’s supply of the same generic birth control pills for $33.

Time Magazine’s current issue offers a heart-wrenching account of Fluke’s version of why she was so passionate about contraceptives. She maintains her main interest in insurance paying for birth control was due to a friend suffering from an ovarian tumor that could have been treated with the aforementioned contraceptive.

By foregoing three Starbuck coffees a month, Miss Fluke could have paid for her friend’s much needed prescription. This highlights that the real intent has been lost in the political haze. At issue here is not the availability of a needed drug but rather an entitlement driven society and opportunistic politicians.

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