College students have increasingly been changing the rhetoric surrounding reproductive health and rights.
Statistically, college campuses are much more liberal, but what happens after those four years is a different story. Many people’s attitude and ideals change, and this is OK, but we do need to stay present in our fight for the future of reproductive health.
There is not guarantee that the generation under us will value these rights as much as we do. As students at the largest university in U.S. we have the responsibility to create a positive future for reproductive health.
In Arizona, there has been a push to improve the sex education policy. We are seeking to create a more positive climate surrounding sex so our children, brothers and sisters are free to foster healthy sexuality.
With the digital revolution we have more resources than ever to be able to support and talk about reproductive and sexual health. We are one of the first generations to know how to use the internet as a tool for social change.
The Internet is a huge platform for connection and discussion about social issues — and reproductive health is certainly one of them. These issues are discussed on everything from Twitter to Reddit, igniting serious discussion and pushing for social change.
So it does not make sense that we would choose to not take advantage of this opportunity. Sexual health education is not the only concern, however. Reproductive rights are also at stake.
If we fail to fight for reproductive health and rights we are failing the generation below us, and failing the people who fought before us.
Arizona has real issues with the push for these rights. The state has very few clinics which can provide abortions. This can become a huge issue when the pregnancy is dangerous and the woman does not have the financial means or resources to travel for the procedure.
As a result, women may be forced to seek dangerous alternatives, such as DIY abortions.
As college students we have a voice in political activity. This became blatantly obvious in the last election. Given the power of our voice we have the duty to fight for a sex positive future.
However, Arizona’s way of limiting access to reproductive health resources and rights is extraordinarily covert. Those looking to maintain conservative reproductive health policies rights are not so focused on abolishing Roe V. Wade. Instead we are seeing small changes that add up — or “death by a thousand cuts” as Dr. David Coonrad described it at RHAZ’s event: The State of Reproductive Health in Arizona.
Facilities and clinics that are funded by the state tend to be the providers of the underprivileged. Doctors are told how to counsel their patients on reproductive healthcare by the policy makers who are funding these clinics. As a result, patients may not be given the opportunity to get accurate and unbiased information.
Moving forward, we cannot become apathetic toward this issue, because it is going to affect people for generations after us. It is exhausting and frustrating to be fighting this battle, but indifference cannot be an option.
Many college students do have access to reproductive healthcare. Abortions, birth control and STD/STI testing are viable options to a lot of us. However, this is not true for many people around Arizona.
While college students have the access they need and may not see an issue with their reproductive healthcare because they can afford it, many people do not.
Every person is entitled to unbiased and holistic reproductive healthcare. It should not be considered a luxury, but a right.
College students are the voice of the future, and as such they are obligated to protect the future of reproductive health. We cannot become complacent. Even if we are not affected, others are, and even if these policies do not touch our lives now they could in the future.
Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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