Opinion | It is necessary that we have accessible sexual and reproductive health care

The USG passing a resolution in support of sexual and reproductive health care accessibility is a step in the right direction for the University of Iowa.


Matt Sindt

University Student Government Sen. Hannah Williamsen speaks about reproductive healthcare for students at a University Student Government meeting at the Iowa Memorial Union on Sept. 27.

Kyle Tristan Ortega, Opinions Contributor

The University of Iowa Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution on Sept. 27 in support of sexual and reproductive health care accessibility. This is a step in the right direction because accessible sexual and reproductive health care should concern everyone.

After Dobbs v. Jackson overturned a national right to abortion this summer, more academic institutions and student groups should recognize the need for reproductive and sexual health care. Specifically, we must acknowledge that accessibility to reproductive rights is vital in more than one way.

In terms of social and economic benefits, reproductive health care is a catalyst for empowerment.

Through services like family planning and contraceptive provision, individuals are given the autonomy, agency, and support they need to decide whether they want to have children or not, while also being given the necessary tools to aid them in the lifestyle of their choosing.

This will not only prevent unplanned and high-risk pregnancies, but it will also grant individuals greater educational and work-related opportunities. The capacity to regulate fertility and plan accordingly for childbearing enables individuals to fully focus their resources on school, work, and other forms of professional development. As a result, they would be in a better position to earn higher wages and find a job in their preferred professions.

With regard to public health, having accessible sexual and reproductive health care is vital because pregnancy-related complications and sexually transmitted infections account for one-fifth of the global diseases among all women, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Additionally, the U.S. Agency for International Development found reproductive health care services reduce maternal deaths by 30 percent annually and save the lives of 1.4 million children under five years old. Based on this information, it is clear reproductive health care is as needed as any other type of health care. For that reason, it should be made just accessible.

One more way reproductive health care is beneficial that is not talked about enough is the way it contributes to alleviating climate change. According to the UN, investing in universally accessible reproductive health care, family planning, and other forms of gender empowerment would result in a 35 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2100.

Reproductive health care is relevant to addressing population growth, which is a major contributor to climate change. With accessible reproductive services, people are given more bodily autonomy, which is one of the keys to managing our rapidly growing population.

Fortunately, Student Health at the UI currently offers a multitude of sexual and reproductive health care services to its students including:

  • Sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment
  • Prescription and non-prescription contraception, IUDs, and Nexplanon
  • General gynecologic care
  • Free condoms
  • Medications for HIV prevention

These campus resources are vital. The accessibility of these services gives people the necessary resources to autonomously decide their own lifestyle, achieve their professional goals without being hindered, and promote their well-being.

The USG passing a resolution in support of this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for the UI, and it will only get better if the university chooses to publicly support accessible sexual and reproductive health care as well.

Whether or not this support will translate to action cannot be determined at this time, but it is important to acknowledge that reproductive health care is important for many reasons and should always be made available to those in need of it.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.