Free birth control, ladies

by Allison Koch

With a nod to Allison FingerettâÄôs Monday column on condom use, The Minnesota Family Planning Program allows those who qualify to access free family planning services, including yearly checkups and free birth control. ItâÄôs a free program too few know about. To qualify, one must be between the age of 15 and 50, a Minnesota resident, a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen who is qualified to participate in federally funded programs, and have an income at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. For people under 21 years of age, parentâÄôs income is not considered. Lastly, one cannot be already pregnant or enrolled in Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare or General Assistance Medical Care. Not only can women get free exams, they can get any kind of birth control for free, from your standard monthly pill packs to Depo shots, even the intrauterine device, which lasts five to 10 years and costs upwards of $500. Condoms and other methods are necessary to help curb the spread of STIs, but placing yourself on birth control is a responsible way to prevent unwanted pregnancy. In short, use condoms, dental dams, birth control and plenty of lube. We all should be thinking of ways to protect and prevent when weâÄôre sexually active. Allison Koch University undergraduate student