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DePaul activists want contraceptives given out on campus

The Catholic Church teaches that all contraceptives are sinful

DePaul University activists have continued their push to get contraception distributed on campus, though the university has previously prohibited it.

“I want the current policy around the distribution of contraceptives changed because I think it should be the students’ decision about their own health and reproductive choices, not the university’s,” Professor Ann Russo told The College Fix via email. The women’s and gender studies professor also directs the Women’s Center.

“Contraceptives and access to reproductive health care are essential to people’s wellbeing, opportunities, and self determination,” she told The Fix.

As a Catholic university, DePaul is supposed to follow the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church forbids the use of contraception.

“The distribution of birth control devices, of any kind, is strictly prohibited on university premises,” the university policy, last updated in 2018 states.

An unofficial group called Students for Reproductive Justice distributed condoms and lube on campus at the time. Similar efforts continued through the past years.

The Fix reached out to Student Affairs and university spokesperson Kristen Matthews multiple times via phone and email to ask if the 2018 policy remains in effect but did not receive a response in the past three weeks.

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The Student Government Association held a town hall in May to demand the university a change in policy. It occurred after the leaked Supreme Court opinion to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Magoli Garcia, the new SGA vice president, said one priority of the student government should be condom distribution. The Fix reached out three times in the past three weeks via phone and emails to ask Garcia questions. The Fix wanted to ask Garcia how condom distribution aligned with the Catholic Church’s teaching but never received a response.

Russo told The College Fix that many students come to the Women’s Center asking for contraceptives, STD testing and other similar resources. She has to explain to them the university’s policy against contraception and direct them to off-campus resources.

“We support those who are searching for reproductive resources to prevent pregnancy as well as supporting students who need support around having children,” Russo told The Fix. “This support looks like offering them information about the range of resources and programs in the Chicago area.”

She said students still find a way around the university’s rules.

“Over the years, students have found ways to distribute contraceptives to other students in need,” she told The Fix. “They have mostly done this in underground ways, or established places off campus to do the distribution so that they would not be going against the policy.”

Russo told The Fix to contact Sara Heidbreder with the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness for further comment on contraception on campus and sex education.

Neither Heidbreder nor Tyler Wurst, director of the office, responded to requests for comment on the policies in the past three weeks. The Fix reached out via phone and email.

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About the Author
Gigi De La Torre -- Franciscan University of Steubenville