Reproductive health in the wake of the election

Photo: Sarai Nissan

Photo: Sarai Nissan


The election of Donald Trump left many women in the US fearful for their access to birth control and health care after he campaigned on a firm pro-life and anti-Affordable Care Act stance throughout his presidential run.

Since President Trump was elected, according to an article by NPR, “Google Trends showed a massive peak in searches for ‘IUD,’ ‘birth control,’ and ‘Planned Parenthood’ on the Wednesday following Election Day.” In addition to a spike in women searching for birth control online, a worldwide Women’s March took place on Jan. 21 and showed that women and their allies are more concerned about reproductive rights for women than ever before.

Students who are worried about their health care, especially concerning contraception and safety, can visit the Women and Gender Center (WGC) and the Phoenix Center at Auraria for free resources.

The Women and Gender Center is focused on intersectionality. “We provide information about reproductive and sexual health, as well as some health resources like safe sex supplies and period care materials,” WGC coordinator, Jacob McWilliams, said. “Women have consistently struggled to access health care and information about and support for sexual and reproductive health, and in the United States, women have never enjoyed full equality under the law.”

The WGC recognizes that not every woman receives the same type of health care. “The inequality gap is even more pronounced for women of color, queer women, transgender women, and women who have immigrated to the United States—even more so for women who fall into multiple of those categories,” McWilliams said. “Transgender and gender nonconforming folks have consistently experienced threats to their physical and emotional health and have suffered discrimination, harassment, and threatened and real violence. These issues, again, are heightened for folks who belong to multiple historically marginalized communities.”

Even though the WGC primarily caters to women’s health care, men are not excluded from their services. “I should mention, too, that the WGC aims to serve cisgender men as part of its mission,” McWilliams said. “Part of our focus is on exploring the impact of what’s been called ‘toxic masculinity’ on the experiences of all people, regardless of their gender identity.”

Students seeking information beyond physical health care can visit the Phoenix Center of Auraria (PCA) for more emotional guidance. “The PCA is a free and confidential resource center for people that have experienced interpersonal violence,” PCA Program Assistant Shanna Petersen said. “Our office uses ‘interpersonal violence’ as an umbrella term to include relationship abuse, sexual violence, and stalking.”

PCA’s services can also extend beyond their scope of knowledge to assist patrons. “Our office can help with referrals to healthcare providers that best fit our clients needs,” Petersen said. “Reproductive health care is not our area of expertise, but we acknowledge the intersection between reproductive health care and interpersonal violence. Our office has free condoms that have been donated to us from health facilities.”

More information on both the Women and Gender Center and the Phoenix Center at Auraria are available on their websites. The Women and Gender Center is located in Tivoli 260-A1, inside Experiential Learning. The Phoenix Center is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in Tivoli 259.

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