Campus NOW supports Universal Health Care ballot referendum
October 2000

The following editorial from Campus NOW was printed in the Alligator:

When it comes to health care women in the U.S. are getting the short end of the stick. Why are women expected to pay for all birth control costs? Many times we fight with men to pay their share for birth control. And it's not just men getting off the hook--2/3 of insurance companies don't cover birth control pills or abortion.

In the Campus National Organization for Women (NOW) we've talked about our experiences with health insurance and found that we have inadequate access to birth control. To even get birth control we have to pay for an expensive annual exammany of our insurance plans dont cover this. Or if we're covered by our parents insurance (like many students) we have to wait and go to the doctor within the two-week window that we go home. If we cant get an appointment, then we can't get the birth control we need.

We can do something about this by voting YES on a nonbinding referendum on Universal Health Care on our November 7 ballot. The Alachua County Labor party is campaigning for the initiative, which upon passage will send a message that we want private insurance companies out of our health care. Campus NOW supports this referendum. Insurance companies restrict our access to reproductive care by limiting what doctors we can see and what they cover. We are paying more out-of-pocket than men.

The infirmary's health insurance plan doesn't cover birth control pills, even though the pill accounts for over half the prescriptions filled there. Women pay half the student fees that fund the infirmary AND we're buying over half the prescriptions. We suspect that the infirmary is running off of money from the pill, yet the infirmary isn't making decisions based on our needs. For example, it's denying women emergency contraception, and recently stated that they don't plan to carry RU-486 (also called abortion pill or Mifeprex) which could make abortion more accessible to women.

The cost of an abortion in the US is $320 and can cost as much as $1500! The cost of RU-486 will be similar, if not more, than surgical abortion. We really don't have the right to an abortion if we cant afford it or can't find a provider.

All health care, including birth control, surgical abortion, RU-486, emergency contraception (morning after pill), annual exams, pre-natal care and childbirth are provided to everyone through a universal health plan in France, Norway, England, Denmark and Sweden to name only a few. Here we pay more than any other country for health care, but get less because more than a quarter of every dollar we pay goes to insurance companies instead of care.

Men need to take responsibility and pay their share for birth control, abortion and childbirth. With Universal Health Care everyone contributes based on their income, so men would already be putting in their fair share and we wouldnt have to fight individually with boyfriends and husbands to pay. We want Universal Health Care, which would cover everyone regardless of job or marital status so EVERY woman would have free access to all the health care we need. We think everyone has a right to good health care, and all women have a right to full reproductive care!

According to the grassroots womens liberation think tank Redstockings, women in the U.S. are caught in a trap because our insurance is tied to employment and marriage. Because we get paid less than men, women more often take time out from paid work for family responsibilities--then we end up relying on others for our income and health insurance, or go without insurance entirely. If everyone was covered through a national system, we wouldn't have to rely on a spouse's insurance, and we wouldn't give up health insurance if we work part-time or in the home.

Vote Yes on the Universal Health Care referendum November 7th. Register to vote by Oct. 10th. Voting YES on this referendum will let politicians know we want a health care system that covers everyone, and provides the full reproductive rights women need and deserve. To get involved, contact Campus NOW 380-9934, . For more information on the referendum call Gainesville Women's Liberation's Health Care for All Project at 373-4841. To find out more about how Universal Health Care can advance U.S. feminism go to the Redstockings' website at

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