Protecting Planned Parenthood at DU


DUPB provides condom dispensers in campus bathrooms to promote safe sex.

DU Health and Counseling Center provides condom dispensers in campus bathrooms to promote safe sex.

Amidst the flood of newfound responsibilities that college students face when moving out or away from home, health care isn’t usually one of them. Most young adults in the US stay on their parent’s health insurance policy until the age of 26, when they legally must buy their own. However, gender equality and affordable health care for all are issues that aren’t typically overlooked or put on the back-burner on college campuses, including the University of Denver.


Over the past decade, anti-abortion politicians like Vice President Mike Pence have made attempts at retracting certain women’s health care services in the US, making access to safe, legal abortions more and more difficult. The Hyde Amendment already prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions, but since President Donald Trump was elected, House Speaker Paul Ryan vowed to “defund” the women’s health clinic Planned Parenthood which offers numerous health care services to 2.5 million women in the US every year.


Defunding Planned Parenthood would prevent the clinics from being reimbursed by any government funds for their services including STI/cancer screenings and treatment, family planning and providing contraception like birth control. The bill that included the defunding of Planned Parenthood (named the Reconciliation Act) was ultimately vetoed by President Obama in 2015, but the debate and controversy over abortion and Planned Parenthood is still on the agenda in the White House.


However, on DU campus students are adamant about standing with Planned Parenthood. The possible defunding has come to represent a call to action for protecting women’s access to safe, affordable health care among students and locals.
Grassroots campaigners in association with Planned Parenthood stand outside of the Shwayder Art Building most weekday mornings and afternoons, encouraging students to donate and sign up to work as a campaigner. If Planned Parenthood was to be defunded, it’s funding would become a state issue, putting even liberal states like Colorado at risk. According to data from the Guttmacher Institute, “Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.”


DU’s Health and Counseling Center, Asbury Location

Again, although most DU students don’t rely on government funded health services and have the option to go to DU’s Health and Counseling center for certain health benefits, the principle of defunding a clinic that benefits women’s health in a number of areas is still an important issue to students.


“It’s another example of people being short-term minded. If you don’t have a facility like [Planned Parenthood] where you can get tested for STD’s and get treated early, you’re going to have to end up paying for hospital bills and the problem just gets bigger and bigger,” said junior Layla Flowers, who has gone to Planned Parenthood in the past for STI screenings.


Sophomore Abby Wold agrees, protecting Planned Parenthood is essential for women’s health.


“There are a lot of women who really depend on their services, not even just for abortions. From everything ranging from contraceptives, daily check-ups and STD testing, people don’t get that it’s really for everything,” said Wold.


It’s true, there is a lot of negative press surrounding Planned Parenthood and abortion/stem cells. But the common misconception that our tax money funds the procedures often gets in the way.


“It would be really detrimental to defund Planned Parenthood because people want to defund it on the basis that it performs abortions, but that’s so small. With the Hyde Amendment, taxpayer money doesn’t go towards abortions,” Wold said.


The Hyde Amendment was passed in 1976 and has been in place to this day, which prevents tax money from funding abortions.


“Planned Parenthood provides contraception so you don’t need to have an abortion. If you’re completely taking away every aspect of Planned Parenthood’s services, you’re not just taking away an abortion, you’re taking away everything and creating more situations where abortions would need to happen,” said Wold.


For sophomore Carmen Leibrock, this ongoing controversy and fight for Planned Parenthood represents a lot of the sexism that has been occurring in the current political climate.


“It’s this embedded sexism and misogyny that we value women less than they are, and it’s totally internalized,” she said.


So when it comes to Planned Parenthood, Leibrock values how accessible and necessary it’s information and services are to women and men of any background.


“No matter what your socioeconomic status is, you need it,” said Leibrock. Although Leibrock has never gone to a Planned Parenthood in person, she has used its 24-hour live texting service for information about birth control.


“I texted the number and got a reply in two minutes. They have so much information at their fingertips.”


From basic sexual health questions, to family planning, to cancer screenings, students agree that defunding Planned Parenthood would be a significant back-peddle for the accessibility of safe and affordable health care for women.


“Planned Parenthood was created not because people weren’t able to have abortions, but because they were doing it unsafely,” said Flowers.


“Even if you defund Planned Parenthood, you’re not stopping abortions from happening, you’re stopping safe abortions from happening,” she said.


Access the Planned Parenthood 24-hour live chat and texting service at:

One Response to Protecting Planned Parenthood at DU

  • Kayla Principato says:

    Hey Kat,

    I enjoyed your story on Planned Parenthood at DU. I think this is a topic that many students wonder about but not many know the truth about what resources are available on campus. Nice job!

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