Created last year by passionate underclassmen, Students for Reproductive Justice at American University has blossomed into an active advocacy group seeking reproductive rights on campus and beyond through petitions, protests and education.
Nicknamed AU Repro, the club promotes accessibility to abortion rights, emergency contraceptives and conversations regarding sexual health. Repro’s current focus is a petition for on-campus emergency contraceptives in 24-hour vending machines following the recent installation of similar machines at George Washington University and nearly 40 other universities nationwide.
“Having an EC vending machine makes it easier to access contraceptives in a central location on campus, and it makes the process of using a contraceptive more feasible and safer for students,” Thimmesch said. “Repro is striving for the machine because we want our campus to promote the health and well-being of our student body on all levels, including when it comes to using contraceptives.”
The vending machine that Repro aims to install will include condoms and Plan B. Thimmesch stated that while Plan B costs $50 at most pharmacies, the vending machine will sell Plan B for $10-$15.
After realizing that AU lacked a student organization centered on reproductive rights, Thimmesch sparked Repro’s origin through an Instagram story asking if AU students were interested in starting a club. After connecting with interested peers, she launched Repro’s first meeting last October.
“In a post-Roe v. Wade world, it is vital to have a dedicated space for reproductive justice organizing on campus,” said Repro founder Lane Thimmesch. “Topics of abortion, emergency contraceptives, sex education and more are especially essential for college students to both have safe access to but also to advocate for.”
Even with 15 initial members, Repro immediately took action by standing in solidarity with Georgetown’s “H*yas for Choice” reproductive justice group on January 21 and assembling at the Women’s March on January 22. Further, the club protested for reproductive rights alongside the Planned Parenthood of Metro DC at the Supreme Court.
”Our campus culture definitely benefits from Repro,” said Repro Secretary Mina Dunn. “Having other clubs that advocate for reproductive rights alongside their main initiatives is great, but having a club that focuses everything on reproductive justice makes the issue more front and center.”
According to Thimmesch, Repro is always open to new members and regularly holds meetings and various actions, all described in further detail on the club’s Instagram page.
“I would encourage people to come see what we’re all about because reproductive justice extends beyond partisan lines,” Thimmesch said. “Our human rights are at stake without essential reproductive healthcare.”