Society Staff Writer | Kalila Bell | firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine you’ve come home from school for the summer for a checkup and found, to your dismay, that you’ve contracted an STI. Fortunately, it’s a treatable one, but you don’t want your family to know and you’re not sure what the next step is. The services offered through the university cannot help you now since you’re off campus. So what are your options?
This scenario is not as hypothetical as it may seem — according to Stanford researchers, 1 in 4 college students will contract an STI. That would be 7,304 of Ohio University’s 2014 student body, according to university facts and figures.
If the student does need to reach out for immediate medical assistance, few places offer discretion and acceptance for patients without their own health insurance coverage. One of the few that does, Planned Parenthood, will be defunded in Ohio due to a bill that governor John Kasich signed into law on February 21.
In October 2015, the Ohio Senate passed a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood and other organizations like it, which offer abortions, emergency contraception, birth control and other services in addition to STI testing. Kasich’s recent signing made the bill into law and now Planned Parenthood will not be receiving 1.3 million dollars towards these programs, based off of the above figure from previous year’s spending.
As Kasich continues on the campaign trail, his vote of confidence in securing funding for the care of expecting mothers and newborns has been shot with the signing of this bill. Not only does Planned Parenthood provide abortion services, but also infant mortality prevention, HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer testing and programs under the Violence Against Women Act, all of which are defunded by this law.
So what does this mean for the general public, particularly college students? It means in the immediate future, students can expect fewer resources with cost effective health care. Those services that have been cost effective in the past also will cost more as a result of the loss of government funding.
For effects in Ohio’s distant future, students can look to states such as Texas, who have also defunded Planned Parenthood. The results? Increase in births for low-income women who no longer could afford or access safe birth control. The ability for other community healthcare providers to come up with similar adequate services will be slow. That would leave 110,000 Ohioans without access to health services and educational programs according to Stephanie Kight, CEO of the Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
Though no one knows exactly what the immediate consequences of this new law will be, observing states such as Texas, Utah, Alabama, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Louisiana, who have all passed similar bills, are indicators of the bleak future for college students looking for alternative, cost-efficient, immediate medical care.