Every so often, I look down and realize — oh, right, I could totally produce a human. My body can do that. I shudder, imagining screaming kids in highchairs with “jam hands,” and try to banish the thought from my mind.
As such, I feel grateful I’m covered for reliable reproductive health care by my insurance back home in Massachusetts — but that is not the case in Ohio. As I read more about Governor John Kasich’s assault on government-funded resources for women’s reproductive health, I wonder why the Cox Health and Counseling Center hasn’t amplified its efforts to keep women safe and de-stigmatize the pursuit for sexual health. Free STD testing is a great start, but it’s clear from the article “Sexual healthcare the new commodity” (April 7) not all women on campus are happy with the current quality of care.
For wealthier students, getting reproductive health care is generally not as challenging, especially if you can get a ride to Columbus or Mount Vernon. But the College’s failure to help women access the supportive care they need affects low-income students the most. This phenomenon reflects how Kenyon fails to address issues regarding economically diverse students, and another example of how the College fails to tackle its isolation. We shouldn’t penalize women, even in an indirect way, for being sexually active.
It’s hard to get each stakeholder to speak on the record for a story about health issues because of privacy and sensitivity concerns, making it challenging to get a handle on the whole situation. But I was deeply concerned about the dynamic of a male doctor asking a woman to describe what she thought happened, instead of first diagnosing her sexually transmitted infection in a professional way. More generally, I sense Governor Kasich’s subsidized women’s health care may normalize negative attitudes toward treating women. As the state cuts critical programs affecting sexual health, the College has an obligation to increase its resources to help its students.
To alleviate this problem in the short term, institutions like the Crozier Center for Women and Unity House should increase their efforts to provide more information about safe reproductive care for all genders, and I hope they’ll be willing to step up to the plate and offer more resources and programming regarding reproductive rights until the health center is able to offer the care all genders deserve.
Gabrielle Healy ’18 is an English major from Fairhaven, Mass. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.