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OPINION: Not discounting price of contraceptives is counterproductive

By vetoing birth control funding, Gov. Ron DeSantis makes it harder for low-income citizens to prevent pregnancy in a time of less accessible abortions. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/FLICKR

For the second year in a row, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed $2 million for low-income people to access birth control on June 3. 

This funding, included in the budget by Senate President Wilton Simpson, would allow low-income individuals to access long-lasting reversible contraception like the IUD, which can work for a decade, and the Nexplanon implant, which can last for three years.

The decision by DeSantis comes at a tumultuous time in reproductive rights, with the Roe V. Wade decision barrelling toward nullification by the 6-3 Republican majority Supreme Court this month and DeSantis’ 15-week abortion ban going into effect July 1.

If DeSantis’ true intention is to prevent abortions from occurring, then he should be motivated to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Otherwise, it appears his only goal is to encourage it.

In 2021, 50% of pregnancies were unintended, according to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). If birth control and abortion continue to become less and less available, this number will surely rise.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives have been proven as more effective than birth control pills, with the pills’ annual failure rates estimated at 9% for the general population, 13% for teenagers and 30% or higher for some high-risk subgroups.

IUDs and hormonal implants aren’t user-dependent and have a failure rate of less than 1%, according to NEJM. Other developed countries, such as the UK and France, where IUDs are used more frequently, have rates of unintended pregnancy that are lower than those in the US.

“If those things aren’t being supported by folks that truly want to reduce abortion, then I think the intention behind restricting abortion has nothing to do with women or people with uteruses,” Linsey Grove, a public health doctor at the St. Pete campus, said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times.

“It has everything to do with control.”

It’s clear that, if given the chance, DeSantis will ban abortions statewide, and he’s just waiting on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. In a July 2021 brief, he and 10 other Republican governors argued the Supreme Court should reconsider previous positions on the abortion case.

If DeSantis truly wants to limit abortion, then allowing people to access effective birth control at an affordable price is a must. This funding is a must.