UA Planned Parent Hood Affiliate Launches Healthcare Campaign

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Eleanor Allen-Henderson, a UA junior recounted a bout with a chronic illness she had in the Fall of 2017.

“It was a really painful experience in my life,” Allen-Henderson said.

Her “painful experience” happened almost 5337 miles from the deserts of Tucson. Allen-Henderson was in Chile studying abroad where she was taking English courses counting toward her degree in the field.

Allen-Henderson did not have health insurance at the time. When the symptoms of her illness became too much to bare she went to a Chilean doctor and bought medication out of pocket for relief. 

While medications tamed her illness they also emptied her pockets.

Left unable to afford feminine care products Allen- Henderson was often left “bleeding and embarrassed” for the remainder of her trip.

Allen-Henderson began a healthcare campaign to get campus health to accept a wider range of insurance plans. At the time of publication, she had stepped away from the organization for personal reasons and is no longer a member. Currently, five insurance carriers are accepted at campus health. She also wants to educate other students about the resources available at campus health. Allen-Henderson has volunteered with planned parenthood since the Fall of 2015.

After taking time to reflect on her time overseas, she and a group of female students decided to come together to start VOX for Planned Parenthood, a student-run affiliate club of the national Planned Parenthood organization. VOX is the Latin word for “Voice.”

Allen- Henderson considers reproductive health crucial to feminine health. However, she says the general public does not talk about it often enough. She also has a particular interest in learning about healthcare options for low-income students.

“It is hard to enjoy your life if you do not have access to healthcare,” Allen-Henderson said.

Allen-Henderson encourages those with affluent backgrounds to join the campaign.

“If they care about the experiences of students. Students are people with {who have} lives and experiences they have to carry with them all the time,” Allen-Henderson said.

Allen-Henderson says a students’ level of health insurance coverage affects the quality of their visits to campus health.

In addition to healthcare rights, Planned Parenthood members are “pro-choice” who advocate for abortion rights. VOX of UA agrees with the stance, however, the organization’s main priority at the moment is to reform health care at the campus health center. Allen-Henderson respects the opinions of individuals who are against abortion but she wants them to consider one thing.

“Sometimes things do not go how you plan,” Allen-Henderson said.

Allen-Henderson wants campus health to be more transparent about payment and refund options.

“People cannot make educated decisions without knowing what their options are. I was never told about reimbursement,” Allen-Henderson said.

Her experience made Allen-Henderson rethink her finances for the remainder of her trip.

“I was put in a position where I was not comfortable getting the care at campus health because I was worried I have to cover all the expenses {out of pocket}and I do not have enough money to support myself afterward,” Allen-Henderson said.

Allen-Henderson wishes medical school’s in Arizona would teach OBGYN students about how to perform abortion procedures. 

According to a 2015 article published by, the purpose of the bill was brought to light in 1962. Sherri Finkbine of Phoenix took Thiadomide while pregnant with her child.  After becoming aware that the medication could cause birth defects Finkbine wanted to abort her pregnancy, however, abortion was illegal in Arizona at the time.

She went to the Arizona supreme court requesting clemency if she decided to break the law and move forward with the abortion. The Arizona Supreme Court denied her request.

Jim Skelly, who was a Republican member of the House of Representatives demanded that The University of Arizona stop teaching abortion procedures to medical students. He and other house supporters threatened to financially sanction UA if they did not comply.

Congress passed the “stadium bill” in 1974. The bill officially made abortion education illegal in Arizona. 

Sedona Lynch is a UA junior who majors in public health. She is the current president of VOX Arizona.

She says campus health does not tell students about insurance reimbursement options students on certain plans may have.

“People cannot make educated decisions without knowing their options,” Lynch said.

Lynch grew up in a low-income family. Her family is on her father’s healthcare cost containment system plan.

“We are on the low-income spectrum and we have been for many years,” Lynch said.

Lynch’s hometown is Sedona, Arizona.

“It is an old town old values farming community,” Lynch said.

Lynch explained how her family’s low income makes it challenging for her and others in similar circumstances to pay for medical care. 

“When you let private insurers take over the market it makes it extremely difficult to get the care that they need,” Lynch said.

Lynch says that everyone should have access to healthcare because the world cannot function without healthy people in it.

Lynch is content with the quality of care campus health provides. However, she wants them to increase service for underserved students. Currently, Medicaid is not one of the five insurance plans campus health accepts.

She encourages students from affluent backgrounds to contribute to the VOX movement. Lynch wants financially stable individuals to practice empathy.  

“Everyone has a moral obligation to help their community. Privileged individuals should use their privilege to drive this movement. People need help. If you have the ability to help them then you should,” Lynch said.

Regarding VOX’s “pro-choice” views. Lynch defends her position.

“They have a right to their own bodily autonomy. It is empowering people to make the best choice for them,” Lynch said.

Another subject VOX Arizona is addressing is access to birth control. She cites an executive order passed by Donald Trump which makes it optional for institutions of higher education to provide birth control products.

Lynch approves of UA’s attitude and initiatives towards birth control services. However, the national Planned Parenthood organization asked VOX to be aware of the issue in the event that UA decides to reduce or eliminate birth control services offered to students. 

If this happens VOX will begin collecting petition signatures immediately.

Ashley Little is a UA junior who studies public health. She is also the co-president of VOX. Her insurance is not accepted by campus health so, she decided to join the campaign.

Little questions the faculties ability to relate to minority students.  

“A lot of their counselors are not culturally competent,” Little said.

Some international students have concerns about the mandatory insurance UA requires them to purchase.

Kris Kruetz in the Interim Executive Director of UA campus health services. He explained UA’s reason for imposing the mandated fee.

“Some international students would purchase the health insurance {to} demonstrate they had a comparable insurance policy and then cancel the insurance receive the refund and go uninsured while they were here,” Kruetz said.

He claims UA has a responsibility to the federal government to make sure all international students are insured while studying at UA.

“The only way we could do that reasonably was to mandate that they purchase health insurance that we {the UA} they will keep while they are students at UA. {That way} we are able to monitor their status,” Kruetz said.

David Salafsky is director of health promotion and preventive services at campus health.

He talked about how campus health cannot accept Medicaid plans because the program serves community members whereas campus health only serves students. 

“Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University face similar challenges,” Salafsky said in response to critics. 

Tayler Tucker is the media relations specialist for planned parenthood Arizona.

Tucker explained that OBGYN students who attend medical school in Arizona must take to learn about abortions. Arizona students must observe abortion procedures for a certain amount of hours in order to do the procedure themselves. 

Tucker did not know the exact number of hours required. After students finish their observation hours there is not a specific abortion license to obtain.

All medical students who attend medical school in Arizona must do the observation in an abortion clinic or during their residency rotations. Tucker adds that medical students need to confirm that their learning environment is willing and able to demonstrate abortions.

Tucker adds that OBGYN’s are underemployed. She attributes “stadium laws” as a contributor to the problem.

“The pipeline is being stopped and that is frightening,” Tucker said.

Tucker wants hospitals to create their own programs for abortion procedure education. She says it is the best way to prepare potential employees to perform the procedure on the front lines. Tucker explained that there are medicinal options for women who decide to get an abortion within the first 10 weeks of their pregnancy. Tucker describes medicinal abortion as a “less invasive” option compared to the traditional surgical method. However, she thinks abortion surgery is safe.

“Abortions are safer than colonoscopies at all stages,” Tucker said.

Tucker has a message for people who do not use doctors who support and perform abortions.

“This idea that a doctor is not qualified because they provide abortions is a myth,” Tucker said.

Tucker says that planned parenthood is working to make abortion a more accessible option for women. Currently, abortion candidates must have strong insurance coverage or they are financially stable enough to pay out of pocket.

“There needs to be huge amounts of activism,” Tucker said.

Kat Sabine is the executive director of Pro-choice Arizona(PCA) and foundation and the abortion fund of Arizona for comment on the stadium bill. The request was denied altogether. PCA strives to educate and advocate for female reproductive rights both on a local and national level. Her Campus Arizona attempted to contact three members of a UA OBGYN club but did not receive a response at the time of publication.




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