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Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022, people across the country have feared for the future of basic reproductive freedoms. The outcome of SCOTUS’ ruling has now changed the decisions people are able to make about their reproductive health indefinitely. Specifically, the ruling affects the ability to attain a safe and legal abortion depending on the state you’re in.

Following SCOTUS’ ruling, Her Campus ran a nationwide survey that asked for Gen Z’s opinions on reproductive rights and policies. The survey found that 75% of the 1,115 respondents didn’t know if their student health centers provided access to medical abortion, with the majority not even knowing what (if any) reproductive health care services they had access to on campus. 

With the majority (62.2%) of respondents being sexually active Gen Zers, how could it be that 25% of people don’t know what reproductive resources their student health centers offers? Especially given that 87% of participants noted that reproductive rights were one of the most — if not the most — important political issues to them, students are looking to their campuses for information about their sexual and reproductive health. Let’s dive into some of the services that your student health center offers, and where you can seek medical help for the services they don’t.

Contraception

Contraception is another word for birth control, defined by Medline Plus as “the use of medicines, devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy.” There are many commonly-known forms of contraception college students can choose to utilize. Her Campus found that the two leading forms of birth control are external condoms and the pill: 41.3% of Gen Zers utilize external condoms, and 40.1% choose the pill as their primary form of contraception. 

A majority (53.3%) of Gen Zers also noted that they chose their method of birth control because it was the most convenient option for them. It can be argued that both condoms and taking the pill are the most attainable forms of birth control, but there are many other contraceptive products available for students on campus.

Most student health insurance plans are regulated by the Affordable Care Act, which means they’re required to cover at least one birth control method without cost, except for some schools with religious exemptions or schools who self-insure their own plans (who don’t need to comply with ACA rules). Specific FDA-approved contraceptive methods that can be covered under most student health insurance policies include:

  • Barrier methods, like diaphragms and sponges
  • Hormonal methods, like birth control pills and vaginal rings
  • Implanted devices, like intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Emergency contraception, like Plan B and ella
  • Sterilization procedures
  • Patient education and counseling

There are a variety of third-party companies that work with college campuses to help you obtain the contraceptive products that fit your needs, like Favor. Favor, formerly known as The Pill Club, is an integrated reproductive health care platform that offers telehealth services for women and people who menstruate across the U.S. They aim to ensure that sexual and reproductive health care is accessible and convenient for everyone.

Favor began partnering with colleges and universities across the country in fall 2022 to help create awareness for students about their options. Sarah Sommers, head of partnerships for the brand, tells me Favor is “removing barriers for [students] when it comes to utilizing and filling their prescriptions that they’re getting through their health care providers on campus.” She continues, “We know [there’s] a huge drop off [when] young women, in particular, are going through all the obstacles to go in person and get prescribed birth control in the IRL pharmacy. Favor is able to mitigate and fill that gap with our digital pharmacy, working closely with health centers so students are aware of that option and providers can actually e-scribe directly to our pharmacy.”

Sexual and reproductive health testing

When sexually active, it’s vital to maintain adequate sexual and reproductive health. Making sure to get tested for STIs after each new partner is a great way to track your sexual health. According to Healthline, a large number of STIs can be asymptomatic, leading to minimal detection and treatment efforts. Many student health centers provide access to these tests for little to no cost at all. You can check your school’s health center website for more information.

Regarding STIs, it’s important to research what diseases and infections your health center generally tests for. If you need testing that isn’t offered at your school’s health center, Healthline has a resource that outlines the places you can go to find tests in your state

And what about pregnancy tests? Many on-campus health care centers provide access to pregnancy tests, including urine and blood tests. If your school doesn’t, you can find them at most local pharmacies, drug stores, and grocery stores. If you want a more discreet option, Favor carries over-the-counter pregnancy tests for patients unsure of where to obtain a test.

Abortions

Federal laws set around obtaining an abortion in the U.S. shifted after Roe was overturned and now leaves the right to an abortion up to the states. Many states have strict bans on abortions as a whole, while some restrict the procedure at a certain point in pregnancy. If you’re contemplating an abortion, make sure to review your state’s regulations on the procedure, especially if you go to school out of state. Statewide protections and bans have taken effect all over the country, so it’s important to educate yourself on your state’s individual laws.

As abortion laws differ between states, insurance plans that also cover abortions vary as well. Many convoluted abortion resources are out there, so if you or someone you know is looking for information, it’s vital to navigate trustworthy resources. INeedAnA is just one site that provides reliable knowledge dependent on three pieces of information: physical location, time that’s passed since your last period, and age.

Joining forces with other abortion-related programs like Abortion Care Network and National Network of Abortion Funds, INeedAnA is a safe tool people can use to look into nearby abortion clinics, check if a state allows abortion pills by mail, and more.

Those seeking general information regarding abortions can also check Favor’s Pregnancy and Abortion Resource Tool Kit, which is also free and easy to use. Favor’s communications leader Sarah Abboud highlighted the significance of the resource kit, saying, “There are pregnancy resource centers that are basically misinformation centers that are created by some of our state governments, unfortunately.” She continues, “[Favor] can’t provide abortions, but we want to make sure [our patients] know where to go should they need it for themselves. We also don’t want people to be randomly searching the internet or social media and finding inaccurate information, so we want to try to play a role in disseminating accurate information versus the alternative.”

When Her Campus’ reproductive survey found that 75% of respondents knew no information about their school’s reproductive resources, it made one thing clear: They need more. More support, more knowledge, and overall, more access to information that’s rightfully deserved. 

Read the rest of the Her Campus Our Bodies, Our Rights project here.

McKinley Franklin is a writer, student, and Leo in love with all things pop culture. When she's not writing for Her Campus, you can catch her reading, cooking, or catching up on her latest reality TV obsession.