Students consider role of birth control in healthcare after Roe repeal


Jacqueline Cardenas

Activists March along Dearborn Street in Chicago on June 25 in response to SCOTUS’ overturn of Roe v. Wade.

DePaul psychology student Ishika Bhatt said she was not surprised when Roe v. Wade was overturned due to the GOP’s constant anti-choice campaigning. 

“Republicans have consistently declared  up and done what they said they were going to do. I was more upset with the Democratic leaders who could have codified Roe, but chose not to,” Bhatt said. 

Roosevelt sophomore Maggie Walker was stunned, but not surprised, about the Supreme Court’s decision. 

“I texted [my partner], and then I texted my cousin and just started freaking out with everyone. But I also wasn’t surprised in any regard,” Walker said. “When [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] died, we called it.”

College students are concerned that access to contraceptives and birth control will become restricted following  the overturn of Roe v. Wade. 

Discussions around birth control as healthcare sparked after the repeal. Kai Tao, co-founder principal of Illinois Contraceptive Access Now! (ICAN) told The DePaulia that people use birth control for reasons other than pregnancy. 

“What’s important to understand is we want people to use birth control and remember about one in five may use birth control for non pregnancy prevention reasons, for medical reasons,” Tao said. “We really want to normalize birth control as basic health care.”

KFF Women’s Health Policy research found that nearly one in five people use contraception for medical reasons, such as menstrual pain and cramps. 

“I don’t take birth control for pregnancy reasons. I have reproductive issues, so I have to take birth control to make sure I get my period and I don’t end up getting some sort of disease or some sort of cancer in that area,” Bhatt said. 

Organizations such as ICAN advocate that birth control and contraceptives are a part of reproductive healthcare. 

“We really want to normalize birth control as basic health care. Birth control also remains safe and legal in all 50 states at this point,” Tao said. 

Pharmacies such as CVS started to limit purchases of emergency contraceptives such as Plan B, according to ABC. Birth control and emergency contraceptives can become inaccessible due to social and economic factors. 

“Accessibility is going to be a major issue, especially for people who can’t afford to drive several hours to get their meds in a different state,” Bhatt said. “I think this whole thing is just very ill-thought-out and it’s going to be a major public health crisis, as these rulings continue to fall.”. 

“The thing with birth control is that it’s not completely foolproof so even having access to it may not be like complete assurance that you won’t need an abortion in the future,” Bhatt added. 

Walker said she felt the overturning was “religiously motivated” and reflective  of  attitudes surrounding  birth control in Christianity. 

“Birth control is just as bad as abortion in a lot of churches. A lot of people think of it as a form of abortion when it’s not obviously. I think it’s mainly the reason why birth control is added into the discussion is because of religious motivations,” Walker said. 

LGBTQ+ activists are also concerned that the Supreme Court could try to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges which legalize marriage equality for same sex couples, according to NPR. 

Restricted access to birth control can affect people who don’t identify as women. 

“I try not to use the word women, anyone who has the capability to become pregnant,” Tao said. “We are doing our best to make sure that we include all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Bhatt said it’s important to include all identities in birth control conversations because they are also at risk for reproductive complications. 

“For people who even don’t identify as a woman, they could still struggle with these issues,” she said. “If you were to take away access to birth control, that will leave them susceptible to developing some sort of cancer, or some sort of other reproductive disease that could have long term damage on more than just their reproductive health.”. 

In a current post Roe society, Walker believes comprehensive sex education, including  different types of contraceptives, is critical. 

“I think there’s going to be less knowledge about [birth control] as we’re entering into a stage where there was a great deal of knowledge being spread about being sexually active and what comes with that,” Walker said. 

To curb a potential lapse in contraception knowledge, Tao encouraged people to reflect on their experience with  birth control through a post Roe lens.

“It’s a good time for all people to be examining the use of birth control, is what they’re using they’re happy with [or] they’re satisfied with? If it’s meeting their needs, when they’re thinking about pregnancy prevention, if that’s what’s important to them,” Tao said.