Take a moment and ask yourself, are you using the best form of contraceptive for you? Are you even aware of all of the birth control methods available? Do you have a plan for if your birth control method fails?
Last year, Sophie Auerbach ’21 was surprised to learn that boys and girls living in her hall didn’t know what an IUD was and didn’t know that there are other forms of contraception besides the pill and the condom. She was shocked because knowledge of sexual and reproductive health resources is extremely important for all individuals. However, it is especially important for college students since many are living on their own for the first time in their lives. Experiences like this caused Auerbach to realize that there was a need for awareness of reproductive health and rights on campus. So, with encouragement from a friend who works at Planned Parenthood, she decided to start the Ursinus Planned Parenthood Club.
Abigail Peabody ’22, treasurer of the Planned Parenthood Club, believes it is fitting for Ursinus to have a Planned Parenthood Club because the values of the educational institution align with the values of Planned Parenthood. Peabody said, “I am passionate about Planned Parenthood because it symbolizes a woman’s right to their own body, and I think that is something Ursinus believes in as well.”
The club hopes to educate on the different forms of birth control, spread Planned Parenthood’s mission, provide information on services that Planned Parenthood provides, and push access to birth control and contraception. Club meetings will begin next semester and will be every other Wednesday at seven o’clock. This semester, the club is tabling in Lower Wismer and Olin Plaza, and holding more campus wide events. With these events, it hopes to create a physical presence for the club and an awareness of reproductive rights on campus.
Auerbach adds that the club is especially important in light of today’s divisive political climate. In March, the Trump-Pence administration issued the final text of the “gag rule” that aims to prevent Planned Parenthood and similar organizations from receiving Title X grant funding. By blocking Title X, the administration would be blocking people with low incomes from receiving reproductive health services. Auerbach said that the domestic gag rule “infringes on free speech and Title X because there will be less funding for programs that don’t necessarily provide abortion but that can refer patients to clinics that do. . .If they talk about abortion with their patients, or perform abortion, their entire funding from the United States goes away.” These regulations are not currently finalized, but they will have a huge impact on people who rely on Planned Parenthood for everyday services unrelated to abortion, such as gynecology, STD testing, and routine checkups. “I
It is important to remember that Planned Parenthood pro- vides various types of reproductive health services. Peabody said that the one thing that she wishes people knew about Planned Parenthood is that “it goes a lot farther than abortion.” Auerbach added, “It is important to remember that you can be personally against abortion and still be pro-choice, and that you can be pro-life and still support Planned Parenthood.”
Auerbach and Peabody ask that any Ursinus student who believes in the importance of providing reproductive healthcare and education to people of all genders join the Ursinus Planned Parenthood Club.