Washington Jen Mayekawa temporarily stopped using birth control last spring when she discovered that the cost had more than quadrupled, from $11 to $49 per month.
"There really was no choice," said Mayekawa, 21, a senior majoring in Spanish and pre-nursing at Kansas State University. "I wasn't about to spend $150 just to get me through the summer."
With the cost of contraception skyrocketing on college campuses throughout the country, the price of the pill is suddenly big talk on Capitol Hill. And Congress, which apparently caused the jump in prices with a legislative error, is under growing pressure to intervene.
Birth control advocates are calling it a crisis: Packets of birth control pills that once cost $5 to $10 for a monthly supply are now selling for $40 to $50. Officials at Planned Parenthood say the higher prices are putting birth control out of reach for many financially strapped students, and they want Congress to make the issue a top priority.
The soaring prices are the result of a quirk in a new federal law that was aimed at saving taxpayers money.
Since 1990, Congress had allowed pharmaceutical companies to offer discounted drugs to college students and low-income people. But when Congress passed its deficit-reduction bill in 2005, it included a provision that disallowed university health clinics from getting access to the reduced-price drugs.