Campus Health remains resource for reproductive health post-Roe

Olivia Warren, Staff Reporter

Abortion rights protestors gathered in front of the federal 5th Circuit’s John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals Building this June to protest the reversal of Roe v. Wade. (Courtesy of Julia Klar)

While the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Louisiana’s subsequent trigger law criminalized nearly all cases of abortion, Tulane University Campus Health remains a resource for students dealing with unplanned pregnancy. 

Campus Health staff physician Dr. Emily Holt said that student concerns are a top priority: Campus Health has hired a full time obstetrics-gynecology nurse practitioner and will soon launch a reproductive health resource website.  

“We’re still spending a lot of time trying to find out what our students need,” Holt said. “What we’ve found so far is that a lot of patients are interested in learning more about contraception and ways to prevent pregnancy, so we’ve started ramping up our information …We are also trying to pull together resources to help students continue to access abortions if that’s what they want.”

As abortion laws across the country shift, college students nationwide are raising questions about access to reproductive health services. In Louisiana, all three abortion clinics will relocate to other states, and a new state law prohibits sending abortion pills through the mail. 

One mode of preventing unwanted pregnancy is still legal in Louisiana: emergency contraception. According to Planned Parenthood, Plan B, a popular emergency contraception brand, should be taken within three days of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. 

Plan B is available for free at the Campus Health pharmacy. “No questions asked,” Holt said. “You don’t need to use insurance, so Plan B is highly accessible on campus.” 

Holt also said that doctors will give patients Plan B for future use. 

“I’m always happy to prescribe that for patients who just want to have it for a just-in-case situation,” she said. 

Plan B’s efficacy starts to decline in patients who weigh over 165 pounds, but Holt said students can make a Campus Health appointment to obtain a prescription for Ella, a stronger form of emergency contraception that is effective in patients who weigh up to 195 pounds. 

If students have already reached the point of an unwanted pregnancy, Holt said, they should immediately come to Campus Health. 

“As soon as you get a positive pregnancy test, come to Campus Health,” Holt said. “We can confirm the test … and then we’re going to provide what’s called ‘all options counseling.’”

All-options counseling is used by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to help patients with unplanned pregnancies make decisions. Those options include carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term — to keep a child or opt for adoption — or choosing to undergo abortion, according to their website

Holt said that Campus Health uses all-options counseling to have a “discussion about those options that’s unbiased, nonjudgmental [and] considerate of the patient’s own personal circumstances.” 

If the student decides to continue with the pregnancy and raise the child, Campus Health will help the student find a local OB-GYN. If the patient wants to consider adoption, Campus Health will help them find an appropriate case manager at Tulane. If the patient wants an abortion, Campus Health will help them find a safe abortion out-of-state. According to Holt, even before Roe v. Wade was overturned, Campus Health was directing students to out-of-state abortion clinics because the few abortion clinics in Louisiana had such a large influx of patients.

“There are many factors when choosing an abortion clinic,” Holt said. “We can get patients information and resources about how to navigate all those resources when choosing an abortion clinic out of state.”

Louisiana Right to Life, a local anti-abortion organization, recommends pregnancy resource centers, adoption agencies, church ministries and anti-abortion organizations as services for pregnant women to find support. Tulane University Right to Life declined to comment, citing personal backlash members of their club have faced on campus for voicing their opinions in the past. 

Campus Health will also help abortion-seeking students with financial difficulties by connecting them to Tulane Case Management and Victim Support Services

Holt said Campus Health is also in the process of compiling a website of resources for students seeking abortions but said in the meantime students should look to the National Abortion Federation and the New Orleans Abortion Fund.

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