As reported by The Daily Campus last week, the University of Connecticut will now provide students with free emergency contraception pills upon presentation of a valid student identification card — an act which is the culmination of advocacy from the Student Services Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government. Offering this free service will undoubtedly benefit the UConn community for many reasons.
College is a time for many young adults to physically explore their sexualities. In fact, a survey by The Daily Campus during Valentine’s Day last year showed the UConn community is robustly sexually active. While there are plenty of great initiatives at UConn to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among the student body (for example, the Glovebox program which sends students free condoms), accidents can still happen.
While most students probably try their best to avoid pregnancy through non-pharmaceutical means, it is important we address the circumstances which can arise when this is not possible. At times, students at UConn may be at risk of developing an unwanted pregnancy. Not only does an unwanted pregnancy hamper a student’s ability to continue their education, but many students do not have the financial or emotional means to raise a child. For this reason, all students should have the ability and means to avoid pregnancy if the situation warrants.
It is great UConn is offering the morning-after pill for free so all students can access it, regardless of their economic situation. However, it is also important because the the pill becomes less effective in preventing pregnancy the longer after unprotected sex that a person waits to take it. This means students who don’t have immediate access to funds or transportation to a nearby pharmacy are put at higher risk of having an unwanted pregnancy. Some emergency contraception pills can cost up to $50 – this cost could be unmanageable for a student who is supporting themself in school and doesn’t have that kind of money at their disposal.
Providing this emergency contraception free of charge and in an easily-accessible way at Student Health Services is an excellent way to combat these challenges. This initiative covers important ground in realizing our reproductive rights and creating a more just and healthy community at UConn.