SURJ now offering free emergency contraceptives for Tulane community

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SURJ now offering free emergency contraceptives for Tulane community

Czars Trinidad | Senior Staff Artist

Czars Trinidad | Senior Staff Artist

Czars Trinidad | Senior Staff Artist

Czars Trinidad | Senior Staff Artist

Shahamat Uddin, Intersections Editor

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Tulane Students United for Reproductive Justice (SURJ) launched a partnership this past Saturday with community justice organization Reproductive Justice Action Collective (ReJAC) to provide free emergency contraceptives for the Uptown Tulane community.

Students can text or call SURJ at 504-215-8634 and they will meet anywhere on campus to get students free EC. 

“If they don’t want to see someone in person, we can drop it off at a location that they pick, and then they just can come and get it,” SURJ President LaKia Williams said.

Williams is largely responsible for founding and executing SURJ’s Big Easy EC initiative. She began working on starting the program this past summer after speaking on an activist panel for the American Society for Emergency Contraceptives. Her plan to eliminate the financial burdens of EC for Tulane students gradually became clearer.

SURJ’s Big Easy EC mimics the framework of unrecognized Georgetown student organization, H*yas for Choice. Just last week, SURJ received a limited donation of Preventeza Vagisil pills, clinically identical to Plan B, from ReJAC Nola to spearhead the program. 

Now, students who call or text the Big Easy EC number receive their requested dose of emergency contraceptive, five Trojan condoms and one Magnum condom. While the EC is free, there is a suggested donation of 10 dollars for the sustainability of the program.

Students can go to Tulane’s Health Center for Student Care or Walgreens, but their hours and location create barriers for students to access contraceptives. 

“A student-run organization that is 24/7 that allows people to get [EC] when they need it, that’s reproductive justice,” Williams said.

The Preventeza EC pills are single-dose uses for individuals with a body mass index between 25 and 30. For people whose body mass index falls outside those parameters, additional doses are recommended, which Big Easy EC also supplies without additional charge. 

SURJ’s mission is the fight for intersectional reproductive justice. Less than a week since its beginning, the inaugural Big Easy EC program has already been used by Tulane students, furthering that mission.

“This is a big step in the right direction for Tulane’s community and student body,” Tulane senior Frances deGruy said. “We’re in a climate where access to reproductive healthcare is increasingly insecure for low-income people, and eliminating this cost barrier moves us that much closer to reproductive justice.”

Williams envisions a number of different initiatives to ensure the longevity of the program. With the suggested monetary donations, Williams anticipates purchasing more ECs for the program. Additionally, Williams has a prepared network of national and local organizations dedicated to the long-term continuation of the program. 

Williams’ efforts to eliminate barriers to accessing EC do not stop here, however. Next, Williams is working to install EC vending machines around Uptown campus for the Tulane community to use.

“I am already in talks to get EC vending machines on campus,” Williams said. “They are two-foot vending machines that can be placed in the all-gender bathrooms around campus … [EC] would range from $25 – $45 and could be purchased with debit, credit or student ID cards.”

Williams also hopes to debunk several of the myths surrounding EC with the launch of the program. She reiterated that EC is not an abortion pill and that it is ineffective for people who are already pregnant. She also highlighted that it is a misconception that taking too many pills decreases the effectiveness of the medication.

A Princeton study concluded that “There are no safety concerns about using progestin-only emergency contraceptive pills more than once. Progestin-only emergency contraception is effective for preventing pregnancy after sex each time you use it.”

Anyone looking to use the resource can call or text the Big Easy EC hotline at 504-215-8634. Those who are interested in volunteering to deliver EC around campus or providing donations to the program should contact either SURJ advisor Dr. Clare Daniel at [email protected] or SURJ President LaKia Williams at [email protected].