Prescribe Fordham! Provides Students With Birth Control Prescriptions and Health Education



Emily Sawicki /The Observer
Event attendees spoke with doctors from the Institute for Family Health .

What is birth control, and what is sexual contraception? These are two basic definitions that have eluded conversation at this University for quite some time and should further be explored. Luckily enough, I had the opportunity to learn more about this topic at the Fordham Law Students for Reproductive Justice’s (FLSRJ) 2nd Annual Prescribe Fordham!  Birth Control Clinic and Sexual Health  Fair.

According to many top professionals, birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. With that being said, the availability of birth control within schools and universities has proven to be of the utmost importance first and foremost for health reasons.

Fordham’s Health Center states that it is willing to provide all reasonable procedures for the wellness of students. This includes services such as “gynecological examinations, pap smears, sexually-transmitted infections testing and pregnancy testing.” Of course, “treatment and related counseling are confidential and always offered in a non-judgmental manner.” In layman’s terms, Fordham University administers all appropriate procedures within the confines of this country’s law.

Under the recent Affordable Care Act, women have the right  to all preventive services, ideally those involving birth control and all sexually transmutable problems.

“In addition to FDA-approved forms of birth control (and yes, that includes the morning-after pill), these preventive services include well-woman screenings, gestational diabetes screenings, breast-feeding support and domestic violence screenings,” states an earlier Ram article (Volume 94, Issue 3) regarding this recent issue on our campus. If you are well aware of our college’s standings on such issues, then it is no surprise that our Jesuit affiliation hinders any distribution of contraceptive products.

“As an institution in the Catholic, Jesuit tradition, Fordham University follows church teachings on reproductive issues.” Accoring to our University’s handbook. Rather confusing lingo if you ask me, but, all in all, an appropriate maneuver by a school with such conservative and private affiliations.

After attending the event hosted by FLSRJ, I was exposed to a possible future for women’s health. Within a three-hour span, students from John Jay College and Fordham University congregated around medical officials in an event that put health first. The main topic? IUDs (or intrauterine devices) and other modes of contraception.

IUDs are a pretty simple concept. 98 to 99 percent effective, an IUD is a small, plastic, flexible T-shaped device that is placed into a woman’s uterus for birth control. There are various types of IUDs and the actual procedure is a lot simpler than implied. With rare cases of side effects, an IUD can be inserted by a gynecologist and is effective for up to 10 years. Many of those attending Prescribe Fordham!, including yours truly, had no idea that such birth control was an option.

Aside from IUDs, the women at the event were informed of not just means for contraception, but means for sexual health. It was more than an event promoting the fast times in which we are living, where teen moms are celebrities. It was a place for people to voice their opinion on such common issues as irregular menstruation and period spotting. At a school where such issues are taboo, it was refreshing. With the help of the Reproductive Health Access Project, the FLSRJ was allowed to educate students about such procedures.

Aside from free condoms being distributed, many doctors volunteered their time to inform students about the new opportunities that are accessible for students at this time. The turnout was great and many of the students, predominantly women but a few males, were eager to learn more about what was being promoted by FSLRJ.

Promotion for Prescribe Fordham! was rather low-key, with Student Affairs denying the right for publicizing such an event on campus. In addition, Fordham’s Office of Student Affairs denied the right for promotional flyers to be hung up around campus.

“Even with the Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Women’s Department for Social Justice, [Student Affairs] said, ‘Nope, sorry. We don’t approve of your posters,” Emily Wolf, Fordham Law ’13 and president of FLSRJ, said. “We really are looking for any opportunities to communicate with the Fordham administration to understand the limits of birth control and contraception on its campuses.”

About 90 to100 people came out to see trained professionals , and it was truly an honor to participate in Prescribe Fordham!

Dr. Elizabeth Yukins, the director of the Women’s Center at John Jay, was the conduit for the event after FLSRJ was denied space at both Lincoln Center and Rose Hill.

“As a legal right and as an institution that receives state and federal money, if such need and demand is there (for contraception) in order to achieve academic success, students must be self-determining about issues of their bodies and sexuality,” Dr. Yukins said.

All in all, the event Prescribe Fordham! gave an outlet for a necessary voice. As far as making general connections between students and physicians, this annual event will continue to reach its goal in informing and administering proper procedures for women seeking sexual aid.

As a male Fordham student, it was enlightening to know how many people truly support such a cause even if the Fordham administration is not as willing to lend its support.

“I would like to press on the ability to push this event for every semester,” Wolf said.

And surely, I hold the utmost support for her and everyone else involved in the FLSRJ. Keep up the cause.