Are those lollipops or condoms? What happens when DU kids are having too much sex

It is no surprise when parents walk into a college dorm, there is generally a large glass jar full of colorful condoms. People associate college with sex and booze, right?

While the free condoms might be convenient for a guy to slip into his back pock before heading out for a night, and a solid option to avoid STDs, they’re only 11-14% effective in preventing pregnancy. And while girls can protect themselves against STDs with condoms too, to further protect themselves against pregnancy costs a pretty penny, even with the new insurance plans. Oral contraptions and IUDs can add up to $300 to $900 a year. These birth control options cause hormonal imbalance, can be uncomfortable and are an all-around pain in the ass. Regardless of how much security one employs, between mis-use of contraceptives, lack of contraceptive use at all, in July 2012 The Guttmacher Institute released  released a study that proved evidence that roughly 107 out of 1,000 women between the ages of 20-24 are bound to get pregnant.

While the DU campus health offices couldn’t provide statistics, the math isn’t too difficult. You have 2,500 undergraduate women walking around campus, which equals roughly 267 pregnant women. The question begs: Where are all the pregnant people hiding?

Sara Powell, the head nurse at the DU health services could not be more thrilled to discuss such a serious issue. As soon as I tell her that I’m trying to cultivate dialogue about an issue that often goes unaddressed, she couldn’t agree more, “Pregnancy on campus happens, and most importantly students need to know that we’re here for them and can help them.” She told me that they hand out Plan B (the 48-hour emergency contraceptive women can take after unprotected sex) several times a week. However they only see a student come into the clinic to take pregnancy test once a month or so, and generally those tests come out positive. Even though they offer counseling and guidance for students who do see positive on a pregnancy test, students often buy the drug store brand and head off to planned parenthood on their own. However, once women have an abortion they can often be targeted with gossip and are black-balled from the dating scene.

Interestingly enough, while DU suggests that they can help with planning and the next-step for students who are confused about where to turn, the DU webpage doesn’t offer any other alternative informative sites than links to the Planned Parenthood website.

Reevaluating “Pro-Choice”

Feminists spent decades de-stigmatizing abortion, so much that now the choice to keep a pregnancy has become an isolated and risky decision, far more than now a widely- socially acceptable choice; abortion. An issue that organizations such as feminists for life argue that students on campuses, especially four-year campuses, are only hearing about the pro-choice position. While it’s important that option is always available to women, it’s come to a point where many women don’t feel comfortable continuing a pregnancy if that’s what in their best interest. Now that Roe vs. Wade has been accepted by the large majority of people the opposite of an abortion is nearly passé. Both options need to be embraced by the student body.

Caitlin Hendee, a senior at The University of Denver and the mother of a two-year-old girl told me about her experience being pregnant on a college campus. She shared her experiences jumping the academic and social hurdles trying to balancing being a strong mother and also a straight-A student. “It isn’t easy and I definitely don’t see any pregnant moms anywhere. While I’ve never allowed my responsibilities as a mother to get in the way of my academics, I don’t feel like there is much support for mothers. Maybe at The University of College for women at DU, but not with my peers.”

Why? Is it living? Are the housing rules preventing women from continuing pregnancies? I can only imagine how being pregnant in a dorm would be looming question on the horizon if your parents are far from home, or renting an apartment yourself isn’t an option. I asked the director of housing, Demitrius Brown about the rules and regulations are around DU campus and he said that there is no discrimination against pregnant mothers. They strictly abide by the law,Title XI . Their position is that a student can live in campus housing until they actually have the child, however at that point the dorms cannot accomdoate for infants. He mentioned that they do try to educate professors and DU staff about how to emotionally support a student who is continuing an obvious unplanned pregnancy, that students need to feel safe in that environment.

What gives?

So while most of us cannot spot a pregnant person within a 10-mile radius of campus, albeit the occasional grad student or professor, the rates of pregnancy certainly haven’t dropped, yet still a top ten reason why women are dropping out of college. While statistics are yet to be determined, Pregnancy is still a top 10 reason why women are dropping out of four-year colleges. And are abortion rates on the rise? No, actually abortion rates have decreased to 21% from 30 of women ages 18-24 21% from 30, however what’s frightening? 45% of abortions are being made by college age women.

Enough with the statistics. Women are not feeling responsible enough or prepared to have a child, so abortion seems like the only way out, and in most cases it is. However, women should not feel ostracized for choosing that route, and they should not feel abandoned because they choose to carry a child either. Universities are clearly in need of creating a safe environment to talk about these issues. Men and women, alike. This issue isn’t new, it’s been around for quite awhile.

Statistically one in ten women reading this article has been pregnant, don’t you think it’s high time we start talking about it.

One Response to Are those lollipops or condoms? What happens when DU kids are having too much sex

  • Brenda Rohn
    Brenda Rohn says:

    I really enjoyed your article as I find the subject or focus to be a very important and prevalent issue for women and especially for women currently enrolled or preparing to enroll in college. Like you, I believe handing out free condoms throughout campus is not the strongest way to prevent pregnancy and that new or additional measures should be taken to address this issue.
    More importantly, I believe more support should be given to women who choose to carry out the unplanned pregnancy. Peers and faculty should not judge, but rather do all they can to respect the life-changing decision that woman has made. From experience, I know it can be hard at first to accept it as I struggled with accepting and adjusting to my sister getting pregnant at the age of 19, but now I admire her for making the choice she did to continue the pregnancy. I have an adorable 3-year-old nephew and godson to show for that decision and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for him in my life.
    However, I know that my sister’s choice to have the baby has affected her college career and prevented her from attending a university and being apart of the college environment and all the opportunities it brings. For her college education, she has had to forgo the college life and educate herself through online classes. This should not be the case. Colleges should support women in their decision and make colleges more adaptable to those facing this common problem.
    On this note, I really liked how you interviewed Caitlyn Hendee about her pregnancy during college regarding how she felt on campus and what adjustments she had to make rather than the adjustments the college made for her. In response, I also like the quote from the Health & Counseling about increasing support towards pregnant college students. Hopefully, more woman will consult the college about their situation and allow DU to do more to accommodate them.

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