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Monday, May 27, 2024

Christian Suarez said if his family had access to birth control years ago, things would’ve been different.

“In my family, I’ve had a lot of unplanned pregnancies,” the 22-year-old said. “If they had access to that, maybe they would’ve been able to plan better and maybe affected their lives positively going forward.”

On Tuesday in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the Keep Birth Control Copay Free Campaign brought the “Mission Control” bus to get people to sign petitions, which were designed like an invoice. The invoices, which gave the average cost for contraceptives — about $1,547 annually — were immediately emailed to President Donald Trump’s administration.

Suarez said the least he could do was sign it.

“It’s no secret, college students have sex all the time, so if they have access to this, it’ll prevent unplanned pregnancies and bring children into this world in better situations,” Suarez, a UF economics senior, said.

The traveling bus lets people know about the new birth control mandate declared in October, said Jae Davis, the tour manager for the campaign. The new mandate will overturn the provision in the Affordable Care Act, commonly called “Obamacare,” and give employers the choice to stop covering the cost of birth control based on moral or religious reasons, according to Politico.

Davis said 296 people signed the invoices.

“It’s gained a lot of traction,” Davis said. “A lot of students and professors that didn’t know this law was going to take effect in the upcoming weeks, they are now aware of it and are happy that we’re on campus.”

Davis said they are traveling to different universities to make students aware of the possible changes to birth control policy.

“By this law changing and the price of birth control actually going up, some students and some people may not have the funds to pay for birth control, which then could become an issue later on,” the 31-year-old said.

In addition to signing invoices, the bus invited people to take photos and gave out free condoms, T-shirts, buttons and stickers.

The bus was decorated like a dorm room to make it relatable to college students, Davis said. Davis said the bus has already traveled to 12 universities and plans to travel to more throughout central and south Florida.

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Gavin Miranda, a UF construction management sophomore, said contraception is not something taxpayers or healthcare organizations need to be paying for.

“That’s kind of like your car insurance company paying to get your car detailed every month,” the 20-year-old said. “That’s totally not what it’s supposed to be for.”


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