By Grant Kammer, The Saint Reporter
Photo courtesy of robertelyov/Flickr
As an off campus college student, my access to safe and cost effective contraception is unrestricted. On my way to school every corner store, gas station, and bar bathroom I pass offer the opportunity to protect myself from STI’s and an unwanted pregnancy. Even my local health clinic, Planned Parenthood, is closer than my college campus.
Planned Parenthood seems to be the most effective sexual health advocate in the area. At Planned Parenthood, health care is practical, affordable, and meets the needs of a responsible adult regardless of socioeconomic status. Planned Parenthood offers everything from vaccines for HPV and tetanus, to screenings for testicular and breast cancers. Most importantly they provide access to contraceptive education by offering information on birth control techniques. It should be noted that Planned Parenthood is an advocate for all forms of birth control, abstinence included, and does not seek to encourage sex but rather creates access to responsible sex.
If only our college was as proactive and health conscious. It is time Aquinas College has that uncomfortable conversation: why can’t I find condoms on campus?
Aquinas College boasts a health care clinic specifically designed to service the student’s wellness. They offer many services similar to Planned Parenthood, such as STI screenings and birth control prescriptions, but our clinic fails to distribute contraceptive options like condoms. While our on campus clinic does a great job educating students about safe sex, they fail to provide the resources to practice it. Does becoming sexually active on campus mean you are somehow less deserving of the resources needed to maintain your sexual health? I find it hard to believe an institution cares for my physical well being without providing the resources needed to maintain my health in all ways. That means without prominent safe sex education and unrestricted access to contraception on campus, my college is effectively dismissing my sexual health.
I am concerned about the mile and a half dead zone of contraception that envelopes my college campus. The closest contraceptive option would be Family Fare where condoms can be purchased. This is still a ten minute walk if you live in St. Joseph’s Hall. The rest of the in-house Aquinas residents face a fifteen to twenty five minute trek in order to receive condoms— something vital for practicing safe sex.
Other universities equip their resident assistants with condoms and information about proper use of contraceptives to help promote safe sex. Max Bultman, a junior at the University of Michigan, said this unrestricted access to contraception “allows students to practice safe sex when it would have been otherwise unavailable.” Yet at Aquinas, RA’s meant to assist our residents are barred from creating access to safe sex options where it is most needed: in the dorm.
Even Pope Benedict referred to the use of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, saying that condom use is a “a first step on the road to a more human sexuality.” It is time the Aquinas College community understands that it is fine to preach abstinence, but by restricting the access to safe and effective contraception you are not discouraging sex. You are encouraging STI’s, and unplanned parenthood.