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People are saying Viagra is now more accessible than birth control because of a Supreme Court ruling — here's the reality

birth control birth control
Image Point Fr/Shutterstock
  • The Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration Wednesday in giving employers more room to refuse to provide free birth control to employees. 
  • The ruling is a blow to reproductive rights, especially during a pandemic that's already affected access to contraception. 
  • Some people have been saying on social media that it's an illustration of how policies favor men's sexual pleasure over women's health, claiming that Viagra is more accessible than birth control. 
  • But a pharmacist told Insider employers aren't generally required to cover Viagra, most insurance companies don't, and out-of-pocket costs for even the generic drug tend to exceed those for birth control. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

More employers may be able to refuse employees birth control after the Supreme Court . 

11选5精准杀号法The decision gives employers, universities, and other entities that say they have religious or moral objections to female contraception more room to opt out of an Obama-era Affordable Care Act requirement known as the "contraceptive mandate."

11选5精准杀号法The ruling has been slammed by women's health and human rights organizations for further limiting women's access to contraception during a pandemic. 

11选5精准杀号法Others say the decision undermines women health while policies that value men's sexual pleasure in the form of medications like Viagra remain intact. 

But while the ruling could have real health, policy, and economic consequences, a pharmacist said it's not quite true that men can more easily access Viagra than women can access birth control.

"Birth control is often covered [by insurance] way more times than erectile dysfunction is," pharmacist Jessica Nouhavandi, co-founder of the online pharmacy , said. 

The ruling may leave as many as 126,000 women without contraception

11选5精准杀号法Wednesday's ruling could leave up to 126,000 women in the US without the contraception they've relied on, the government has estimated. According to the National Women's Law Center, currently don't have to pay for birth control because of Obamacare. 

birth control birth control
Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

The ruling is particularly damaging during the coronavirus pandemic, which has already limited access to birth control while also leading many women to need it more to accommodate new family planning goals, or wanting fewer children.

11选5精准杀号法Others have pointed out that the decision may also negatively affect people who need birth control medications to manage diseases that have nothing to do with sexual activity. 

 

In general, though, birth control is still more accessible than Viagra 

11选5精准杀号法The ruling has reignited anger over claims that American healthcare policies, especially under Trump, value men's sexual pleasure over women's ability to access necessary healthcare. 

Many people on social media, including some politicians, are now saying that Viagra and similar drugs are cheaper and more widely available while access to female contraception continues to tighten. 

 

 

11选5精准杀号法But Nouhavandi, the pharmacist, told Insider those claims aren't entirely accurate. In general, she said, employers aren't required to cover men's sexual health drugs like Viagra and in fact, most insurance companies don't. 

11选5精准杀号法"Erectile dysfunction is a disease state that often falls into the lifestyle category, meaning [drugs to treat it] aren't necessary, but often a choice," Nouhavandi said. 

11选5精准杀号法She said while how the current ruling affects women's access to birth control remains to be seen, by and large insurance companies do cover it. 

Nouhavandi also said out-of-pocket costs for Viagra and drugs like it, including generic versions, tend to be much higher than what women pay out-of-pocket for birth control. 

For example, generic Viagra could cost up to $400 or $500 a month or as much as $60 a pill, while generic oral contraceptives tend to go for about $25 a month, she said. 

11选5精准杀号法Nouhavandi added that, in some ways, access to birth control has gotten more accessible over the years. For instance, in many states, pharmacists are able to prescribe it to walk-ins. The same can't be said for Viagra. 

11选5精准杀号法She and other representatives of online pharmacy organizations said there are still ways to access medication if your employer or insurance company limits it. 

11选5精准杀号法"With pharmacies like us and with great other companies like Planned Parenthood, we have more access to birth control than before," Nouhavandi said. 

More: Sex Birth Control Supreme Court Women's health
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