As you prepare to return to campus, I’m reaching out today from Oberlin’s Student Health Center, to talk about an issue that I know is on the minds of many in the Oberlin community.
Following the Dobbs decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, we have understandably received questions about how reproductive health services might be affected here at Oberlin, and I am pleased to be able to answer those questions, and address concerns.
When the Dobbs decision was released in June, I expressed my strong belief that access to reproductive healthcare is a matter of equity, and promised that Oberlin would continue to support the reproductive health needs of our students, faculty, and staff, even as the state and federal climate has made this more difficult. As always, the health, safety, and welfare of the Oberlin community is our institutional priority.
Earlier this month, I traveled to The White House to participate in a roundtable discussion with Vice President Kamala Harris, where a select group of college presidents addressed the Supreme Court decision and its impact on the reproductive rights of students across the nation.
Here at Oberlin, we will continue to provide students access to the full range of reproductive health services that we have in the past. As many of you know, Oberlin has a new partner in student health services. You may be familiar with Harness Health Partners as the organization that helped support our COVID testing on campus.
When we signed the contract with Harness we were intent on ensuring that the services available at our Student Health Center were comparable to those services provided in the past. The Student Health Center, for example, will continue to provide prescriptions for birth control and Plan B, referrals for those seeking an abortion, and STI testing and treatment. Additionally, the College is partnering with Family Planning Services of Lorain County to further provide access and support.
The Sexual Information Center will continue to be a resource for students seeking access to contraceptives, including Plan B, as well as sexual health promotion and educational resources. We will also continue to work with the Oberlin Doula Collective, which provides support and community for those seeking abortions. And while we have never inquired about the exact purpose of a student’s use of emergency funds needed for health procedures, these funds will still be available to those who meet its criteria.
I know these are complicated and challenging times for many who are unsure of what access they may have to reproductive healthcare in a moment of need. As the landscape evolves nationally and in Ohio, Oberlin will continue to evaluate the best ways to ensure our community’s access to these services and support. In the meantime, I encourage you to reach out to the College’s Student Health Center should you have additional questions and concerns. I know the staff in these offices want to be of service to you.
Carmen Twillie Ambar