Reproductive health services at HSU

By Troi McDonald
Flapjack Chronicle

A third of pregnancies occurring in the world today are unintended. Abortion, among many others, is a way to deal with these unplanned pregnancies by the deliberate termination of a human fetus. This is the first choice presented to most young women who do not wish to hindrance their ability to receive an education today.

Within the Humboldt State University Health Center, lies an area specifically for women entitled the Women’s Health and Preventative Center, which provides services to cater specifically to the female body. Annual exams including: PAP smears, breast exams, evaluation and treatment of gynecologic problems, contraceptive choices including: birth control pills, male and female condoms, emergency Contraception (“The Morning After Pill”), pregnancy testing, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s); HIV testing and the Family Pact card which allows women, under financial restrictions to afford these services free of cost.

Research shows many college women face reproductive health issues every single year. According to a 2008 study, about 20 percent of women will have an abortion by the time they are 25. It’s hard to determine exactly how many of those abortions occur in college-age women, but some studies suggest as many as 45 percent. Although this is an effective way of eliminating a pregnancy to help a young woman who isn’t financially or mentally stable to take care of a child, there are many other options that are presented to college women who face these situations and are, in most cases, offered and covered by the college.

Information regarding abortion, mental care and health care on the Humboldt State University campus can be found at the Student Health Center. Mary Grooms VanCott, HSU Director of Student Health services, explains abortion as being very common among young college women, but never really mentioned among students for personal reasons.

“We offer an array of services to women who find themselves in such predicaments and we treat them accordingly,” VanCott says. “If we cannot accommodate, we will refer the student to appropriate off-campus services.”

HSU Art major Shannon Townsend, 18, speaks of her stance on abortion and the health center.
“I feel that if you don’t like it, don’t do it,” she says. “Everyone is open to what they believe.” She continues to speak about her on campus experiences. “During HOP, there was a required workshop about the health center, Planned Parenthood and all the services offered to the students on campus. I learned a lot.”

HSU Chemistry major Ebed-Melech, 18, gives a male perspective on the topic. He equates abortion to the taking of a human life. At the same time, he understands the aspect of choice.
“For those who need it, I’m glad its available to them,” he says. “As a male, I actually don’t know much about what services are offered here on campus but from what I hear, the resources are within reach and its important for those who need help, to access it.”

College health programs have evolved considerably in the past years. Issues that affect today’s university or college student most likely include tobacco use, alcohol and other drugs, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, contraception, infectious illness, eating disorders, and vaccine-preventable diseases. The health issues which affect students’ success are often attributed to behavior and can be most corrected by the academic community in which they reside. It is important that these services be promoted throughout the campus and that all students be aware of these resources.

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