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Alaska is the second most expensive state to live in. Everything from heating to purchasing a house costs more than it does in the “Lower 48.” Transportation and food are at high premiums. Plus, the median per capita income is a mere $32,500 a year. Hawaii is the only state more expensive to live in, on average. The last frontier is beautiful, expansive and super pricey.

Health care of course follows suit. It’s costly. So when lawmakers are trying to limit women on Medicaid’s access to health care, perhaps shrugging off the economic impact is…well…not quite accurate. "No one is prohibited from having birth control because of economic reasons," said State Senator Fred Dyson on the floor of the Alaska state house. Dyson also, said condoms are one dollar each and the pill is $18-$30 a month, “Four or five lattes will pay the $18 a month.”

Actually, co-pays for birth control can cost up to $600 per year. 

To be clear this is for a bill cutting state funding for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest or medical emergency. Not a bill cutting funding for condoms or prescriptions of the pill.

The problem with Dyson’s view, aside from ignoring that things in Alaska really do cost more, is that there’s data that suggests that women DO have difficulty affording birth control.  More than one in three women voters have struggled to afford birth control — and as a result, haven’t used it consistently. That number goes even higher when you factor in for age — 55% of 18-34 year old women have struggled with the cost of birth control.

We also know that when cost isn’t a factor (which is becoming more true thanks to birth control being covered as preventive health care for women under Obamacare), women choose birth control that’s best for them, which in turn leads to fewer unintended pregnancies. And since prescription birth control pills are the most popular form of reversible contraception, we think Senator Dyson needs to check his facts and his understanding of birth control as an economic issue.

Dyson sums up his thoughts on health care funding thusly: “My own view is that by and large sexual activity is recreation…. I don’t think there’s an overwhelming or compelling reason for the state or the people i.e. Other Peoples’ Money to be required to finance other people’s recreation.” Says the lawmaker in the state with eight national parks.

Tags: Alaska, Fred Dyson, birth control

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