Opinion

Loyola Students Need to Organize for Reproductive Justice and Rights

Photo courtesy of Students for Reproductive Justice

Care for self, care for others, care for community: These are the three central tenets of Loyola University’s student promise.

This promise is presented each year to incoming first-year students, and is implemented in the university’s policy rhetoric.

It is the belief of Students for Reproductive Justice that it is indeed impossible to enact this promise — to commit to bettering ourselves and our community — when we as a university and student body repeatedly ignore sexual health.

An individual’s sexual health is as central to well-being as mental health; family planning and contraception accessibility is as important to an individual’s life as it is to the safety and well-being of a community.

This is why Students for Reproductive Justice is taking action: to provide these resources and promote sexual health for as long as the university refuses to do so.

The standing policy is as follows: No condoms are distributed by the Wellness Center, and birth control is provided only in the instances of acne management, painful cramping or irregular bleeding.

Additionally, students are not permitted to distribute contraceptives such as condoms.

Groups with a mission that is considered contradictory to the Catholic faith are not granted status as a registered organization status.

Our mission is simple and clear: to radically alter the university’s current position in regards to reproductive health.

We are demanding that Loyola provide male and female condoms as well as numerous other forms of contraception without deception.

We are demanding that Loyola provides educational resources for abortion and contraception and removes the crisis pregnancy center from the current resources.

We are demanding that Loyola do what is best for its students’ health instead of simply offering retroactive solutions such as STI testing.

It is with this education and these resources that Loyola students can truly care for themselves in whichever manner they decide. We are not the first to embark on such a mission.

As far back as 1989, a university organization entitled “The Women’s Center” brought a pro-choice speaker to campus.

The result was the group’s suspension from being a registered student organization.

In 2012, CARE, Loyola’s sexual health advocacy group, attempted to distribute condoms to the student body. This group was also suspended.

It is our mission to continue these past actions and revolutionize the university’s restrictive policies for the student body’s best interests.

Our past two actions — on Sept. 2 and 16, respectively — have involved handing out condoms to students.

The second action resulted in the demonstrators being moved off campus by administration.

Our battle is a nationwide one. Hoyas for Choice, a group of students at Georgetown University (private, Jesuit institution in Washington, D.C.) is also not granted organization status, yet the students are permitted to distribute condoms under the First Amendment clause of the university’s demonstration policy.

It is preposterous to think Loyola students cannot be granted those same rights. Battles for contraception have occurred and continue to occur on campuses across the United States: Catholic University of America, Boston College, Fordham University and now, Loyola.

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