From 1976 to 2012, I worked for more than 30 years in the Student Health Office at the Philadelphia University of Science.
I’m sad to learn that, as it merges with the Catholic school St. Joseph’s University, USciences announces it will no longer distribute contraceptives.
For many years, I was the only full-time health professional in the Student Health Office.and distribute Contraception is part of what I do.
Starting in the late 1990s, as the student body shifted from a largely conservative male campus to one that included more women, I started leaving bowls of free condoms in the waiting room. I heard some admin complaints but never got a formal stop request, so I continued. I believed then – and still do – that giving out free condoms was better than dealing with unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
The students didn’t complain either. Quite the opposite – there are maybe 150 condoms in this bowl that I have to refill a few times a week.
There are no formal gynaecology services in our office, but as our demographics continue to change, we offer more gynaecology and birth control services. Some of Thomas Jefferson’s doctors spent hours a week examining patients, and I left free brochures in the waiting room on topics like STDs, safe sex, and HIV. About once a month, I meet with different students who need help dealing with unwanted pregnancies. I didn’t hesitate to discuss all their options, including abortion, and recommend them to Planned Parenthood.
“About once a month, I meet with a female student who needs help with an unwanted pregnancy.”
When I worked there, all the health services we provided were free to students. I have not questioned any of my decisions about educating and discussing birth control with my students.American Science is First School of Pharmacy in North Americawhile family planning is part of health care, plain and simple.
So when I read that because of the merger with St. Joe, USciences told students that it would no longer offer birth control to students, I was very saddened.I understand that some Catholic students prefer to attend a university that aligns with their values, such as St. The Student Health Center also does not issue birth control. But students at the American Academy of Sciences did not make that choice. They attended a university to pursue careers in science and healthcare – and now they are told they will be denied basic aspects of healthcare for themselves.
I am worried about what will happen to students at USciences. This combination can make an already difficult situation even more difficult if they have questions about birth control, need contraception, or have an unwanted pregnancy. Where are they going now?
This is not the only example of a merger that has reduced patient access. When hospitals merge with Catholic medical facilities, they often lose the ability to perform abortions, sterilizations and surgeries. assisted reproduction; they Pregnancy-preventing ’emergency contraceptive’ may not be available to rape victims. About 10 years ago, Abington Hospital was 150 Abington doctors protest plan to stop abortion.
People have every right to choose a service that aligns with their values - whether it’s in a university or a hospital. Students at St. Joe’s can make that choice, and so should current USciences students.
The portion of the university that remains USciences should temporarily (for at least one year) continue to provide contraceptive and family planning services or contract with an outside provider to ensure that students have a place off campus where they can continue to receive this An important part of healthcare.
Anything less is unfair.
Bonnie Brigham Packer is a retired nurse living in Wenona, NJ