Cost of Georgetown Law and contraceptives.
Since Fluke's claim is 40% of women struggle to pay for contraceptives over the course of law school, it is important to know what the cost of contraceptives would be compared to full-time students and part-time students. For this portion of the analysis, we will assume that the 40% of women who are struggling financially are spending $3,000 at law school on contraceptives (we will get to the validity of that claim later).
Students in the full-time program are expected to graduate at the end of three academic years, Students in the part-time program are expected to graduate within four academic years of being accepted. Living expenses are around $22,895/year. Full-time students (tuition) cost = $40,920/year, Full-time students (contraceptive) cost = $1000/year, Part-time students (tuition) cost = $33,500/year, Part-time students (contraceptive) cost = $750/year. Using these numbers:
- Full-time cost of contraceptives = 1.6% of total, 2.4% of tuition, 4.4% of living expenses.
- Part-time cost of contraceptives = 1.33% of total, 2.23% of tuition, 4.4% of living expenses.
The majority of students did not receive any scholarship money (557 of 1990 according to top-law-schools, only 9.9% according to lawschoolnumbers), and of those the majority received less than half tuition in aid. The median grant amount was $15,000 (FT), and $8,900 (PT). If 40% of women struggle financially to afford contraceptives, the best case scenario is, 239 women with no financial aid are struggling to pay $3,000 out of $191k over 3 years (1.6%), and the remaining students with a median $15,000 of financial aid are struggling to pay $3,000 out of $146k over 3 years (2.1%). $3,000 is a miniscule expense compared to the cost of graduating from Georgetown Law. It is highly unlikely that 40% of the total students at Georgetown Law are capable of paying $146k-$191k over a 3 year period, but are struggling to pay $3,000. Even if you only compare this expense to just tuition & fees, it only amounts to 3.1%. This is especially true when you take the cost of rising tuition&fees (page 6) into account, (2010-11), (2011-12), (2012-13).
Over an 8 year period, tuition and fees have increased $13,755 (40%). The average increase over a 3-year period is $5,158 (not adjusted for inflation). This is nearly 60% more than the cost of contraception for women over a 3-year period that Sandra Fluke claimed a woman could spend.
What is the cost of contraceptives, could it really be $3,000 over 3-4 years?
The previous section, we know that Full-time students would spend on average $1000/year, and Part-time students would spend on average $750/year. The cost of different forms of birth control are:
Birth Control pill ($15-$50 at planned parenthood) = $9/month (Target, but Fluke didn't know) = $108/year (Target)
Depo-Provera ($35-$75+exam($20-$40)) = $55-$115/quarter = $220-$460/year
IUD ($500-$1,000) at PP = $175-$400/5-10 years according to American Pregnacy
The costs here aren't enough to account for the yearly expenses. IUDs are the most expensive, but dividing the cost over the life of the IUD means that it is cheaper than Depo-Provera. What if we include the cost of condoms as well. If we take the most expensive birth control (Depo-Provera), and figure out how much is left for condoms (PT student = $530-$290, FT student = $780-$540). This assumes that the woman's male partner never pays for condoms, and that the woman never receives free condoms from a local planned parenthood. According to the American Pregnancy Association, condoms cost:
With a little shopping around, and buying larger packs, condoms shouldn't cost too much. One experimenter found that the cost of two major brands in the large count boxes (24-36 each) was between $0.41-$0.79 (In large bulk sizes 1000 count, that cost could be reduced to $0.15-$0.16. This might come in handy, as you will see later on).
With a little shopping around, Sandra Fluke and other Georgetown Law students would be able to have sex 5-13 times/day. If you plan to have sex this often, it would make sense to by in the 1000 count bulk, instead of struggling to pay for such small (24-36 count) quantities. Condoms have a 3-5-year shelf life. How does this compare to the normal sex life of the average woman? The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior has these numbers for women who have sex 4 or more times per week (age range chosen because it listed the highest percentages):
|Single | 4.9%|10.1%|
|Married |23.5%| 2.0%|
The vast majority (76%-90%) of women are only having sex 3 or fewer times per week.
To spend $3,000 on birth control over 3-4 years of law school, a woman would need to use a combined birth control, and condoms to protect themselves. If they shop around, and buy condoms in bulk, If they bought their condoms in bulk, they can have sex between 5-13 times per day. If they use the birth control pill instead of the shot, they can double those numbers. And if they requested that their partners buy condoms half the time, they can double those numbers again.
It is highly unlikely that 40% of Georgetown Law students are struggling to pay for birth control, unless they differ vastly with respect to most 18-29 year olds. For a woman to use $3000 over the course of 3-4 years would require her to have sex an unusual amount. For this reason, it is highly unlikely that it can cost $3000 for a woman at Georgetown Law to buy contraceptives.