UI students petition for birth control

University of Iowa Students for Planned Parenthood are pushing forth a petition so all students have access to safe and affordable methods of birth control.


Sid Peterson

Eric Gjerde, Democratic candidate for Iowa State House District 67, met with students involved in the Planned Parenthood at the Women’s Resource and Action Center on Monday, September 24, 2018.

Alexandra Skores, News Reporter

University of Iowa Student Advocates for Planned Parenthood is petitioning for safe birth-control methods, and a state  House candidate has spoken in favor of the group’s goals.

Last year, the Trump administration repealed a mandate that required birth control to be covered under public insurance plans, said Charlotte Gude, the Planned Parenthood group president.

“Since the University of Iowa is a public institution, it can now take birth control off of its insurance plans,” Gude said. “University of Iowa Student Advocates for Planned Parenthood have been making attempts to combat that.”

Every Monday at 8 p.m., the Women’s Resource & Action Center houses the group’s meetings, which are open to the public for discussion on a variety of topics.

On Monday, the organization was joined by Democratic candidate for Iowa House District 67 Eric Gjerde to gain support for its advocacy efforts. Planned Parenthood has endorsed Gjerde.

“Health care right now in our state is broken. Planned Parenthood could do so much for our citizens,” Gjerde said. “As the father of three daughters, the husband of a wonderful woman, I think all women in the state of Iowa have the right to make any decision with regards to their own bodies.”

Gude said the UI group has worked hard to take the first step to counter Trump’s plans by asking UI President Bruce Harreld, UI Student Health & Wellness, and other UI administration to make a statement to protect insurance plans at the university.

“Many that are relying on contraception are those who feel instability because of the social climate,” said Elena Greene, UI Planned Parenthood group vice president. “People are worried about immigration status, incomes, tax breaks, [and] health-care coverage far outside of contraception.”

Greene stressed that, in conversations with the UI, the group members learned that the university will continue to provide coverage for contraception methods.

However, Greene said, UI officials will not make a formal statement at this time to do so.

“The university already has my back on my birth control, and now I can focus on other things,” Greene said. “Having the security [of a statement from the UI] would be comforting. It doesn’t get nearly as much credit for the impact it would have for our students.”

Student Advocates for Planned Parenthood has a petition that members will soon send to the administration, outlining the need for a public statement from the university for its insurance plans to explicitly include birth control.

“We know that graduation rates are very important to the university, and studies show that having access to birth control will dramatically improve those rates,” Greene said. “If we can’t get them to care about our bodies because they are our bodies, they can care because it will increase graduation rates.”

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Currently, the group works on an Instagram campaign to promote awareness for the need for safe and affordable birth control on campus. The photos displayed have individuals with written words on their bodies to show why contraception is important to them. The full campaign can be found @birthcontrolcampaign.

“Trying to get people to talk about it is our biggest concern,” Greene said. “The more of a conversation it is, the bigger of a deal it will be to the university.”