H*yas for Choice partners with local OB/GYN to provide birth control to students

Published October 21, 2023

Illustration by Madeleine Ott

H*yas for Choice (HFC) has begun a partnership with Capital Women’s Care, a local OB/GYN office, to provide unprecedented aid in making birth control more affordable and accessible to Georgetown students, regardless of their health insurance plan. The new program, which launched Oct. 11, aims to simplify the process of accessing contraceptive care, lower cost barriers, and expand the options available to students.

The Student Health Center cannot prescribe birth control solely for contraception because Georgetown is a Catholic and Jesuit institution, according to the Student Health website. Student health insurance will only cover hormonal birth control for non-contraceptive medical issues such as intense cramping, heavy periods, polycystic ovary syndrome, or acne.

The HFC collaboration with Capital Women’s Care will expand the offerings to students to include hormonal birth control options like oral medications and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) as well as other options like copper IUDs, Nexplanons, and NuvaRings.

“H*yas for Choice buys condoms and Plan B all the time, which are great, but these are more long-term things that can cover people for their whole time at Georgetown and beyond,” Sydney Hudson (SOH ’26), HFC’s co-director of organizing and advocacy, said.

Students can schedule virtual consultations with trained students, free of charge if not covered by insurance, to get information about birth control options. While the actual birth control itself is not free and depends on insurance coverage, the partnership will offer financial support to cover part of the cost of birth control if a student’s insurance won’t cover it.

“Let’s say a student has Georgetown insurance and wants birth control pills, and this is not covered. We’ll bill them and their insurance, but if insurance doesn’t pay for it, and they can’t afford it, which most students can’t, we can write a certain percentage off as charitable care,” Dr. Julian Safran, a physician at Capital Women’s Care, said.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, several states have proposed new restrictions on accessing birth control. Currently, 12 states allow certain providers to not offer contraceptive services based on religious or moral objections.

Other barriers to access include cost. According to the National Women’s Health Network, out-of-pocket prices for birth control pills are between $20 to $50 per pack, adding up to $240 to $600 per year. IUDs average more than $1,000. 

Capital Women’s Care hopes to reduce price barriers where possible and to provide students with the information they can to ensure that pricing is transparent.

“We accept almost all insurance plans and will provide information so that the students can check before their appointment. To avoid billing surprises, they can call their insurance company and tell them what procedure they’re going to have and what diagnosis they’re using,” Kiran Singh (CAS ’23), Safran’s medical assistant, wrote in an email to the Voice. “We will try to help the students who can’t afford care if, after they check their insurance, [they] feel that they can’t afford the cost.”

The program also aims to streamline the process of getting birth control pills for students whose busy schedules don’t allow them to go to the clinic, especially during the week.

“If someone wants birth control pills, they can get all the information on that in the consultation. They can fill out the forms themselves, and then the doctor will sign off from the office and they can just send the prescription in, so the student wouldn’t even have to go see a doctor,” Hudson said.

Capital Women’s Care is usually closed on the weekends, but they plan to adjust their schedule to accommodate Georgetown students who cannot go to the clinic during the week. One Saturday a month, the clinic will open to allow Georgetown students to access birth control options that require an in-person appointment for insertion, such as IUDs, Hudson said. 

Capital Women’s Care is providing HFC with $25 transportation stipends for the first 100 students to get to the clinic at 2120 L St. NW, Suite 700, which is about a 30 minute walk from campus. HFC and Capital Women’s Care started virtual visits on Oct. 11, and plan to host the first Saturday clinic on Oct. 28.

Hudson cited her own experience getting an IUD far from campus as an example of how accessing birth control can be difficult and intimidating for students. 

“I got an IUD at Planned Parenthood in southeast D.C., where there were protesters outside. It was just really frightening and it was super far away,” Hudson said. “Another part of [the program] is trying to make the process of getting birth control and reproductive health care more of a safe environment. We want to make it more of a warm and fuzzy way to get necessary healthcare that’s not offered on campus.”

Hudson hopes to expand the program to Catholic University, George Washington University (GWU), University of Maryland, and other local schools in the future.

Capital Women’s Care is also working with students from GWU to research what barriers university students face when it comes to accessing birth control. Safran explained that the research aims to help Capital Women’s Care create services that are better tailored to students’ needs.

“There’s so many problems with healthcare,” Safran said. “What we’re trying to do is identify those problems, and figure out what we can do to make the world the way it should be, which is that care is accessible and most importantly, high quality, affordable, and done in a way that is respectful.”

HFC and Capital Women’s Care hope that the new program will further their fight for reproductive justice by creating a simpler, more affordable way to access birth control. 

“We can’t make sex a class privilege where only people who can afford birth control and can afford going into clinics can have access to it,” Hudson said.

Katie Doran
Katie is a freshman in the College, studying (probably) government. She loves tea, em dashes, baking, and pretty biweekly magazines from Georgetown's best publication.

More: , ,

Read More

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments