College News

UW-Madison SSFC representatives consider contraception changes, but Big Ten schools have mixed policies

SSFC representatives will vote on the recommendation for UHS Monday.

Image By: Brandon Moe

While UW-Madison student finance committee representatives deliberate over a recommendation to offer new types of free emergency contraceptives to survivors of sexual assault, other Big Ten universities are varied in their policies concerning the matter.

UW-Madison covers the cost of emergency contraceptives in the form of copper IUDs for survivors of sexual assault. However, they do not give free oral contraceptives like Plan B — something that the proposal is looking to change.

Reps. Sophia Alzaidi and Jordan Madden, who formed the proposal, argue that IUDs are not cost-efficient and that oral contraceptives would help a larger number of students. In addition, survivors provided with an IUD must go through an invasive surgery soon after experiencing the trauma of being assaulted.

Students who are not survivors of sexual assault are not currently given free contraceptives through UHS.

Other Big Ten universities have similar approaches to students’ contraceptives. According to David Golden, director of Public Health and Communications at Boynton Health, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities does not currently supply free contraceptives to sexual assault survivors or the general student population.

These contraceptives are, however, available at the Boynton Health pharmacy for a fee.

The University of Michigan differs from other Big Ten schools in its policy, which is similar to Alzaidi and Madden’s vision.

According to Howard Saulles, the interim director of University Health Service at Michigan, Plan B is available for all students.

“There is a charge, but we will bill student's insurances, including the Michigan Domestic Student Health Insurance. Some insurances have a co-pay and some do not. For students who are survivors of sexual assault there is no charge,” Saulles said.

On a national level, there is a lack of data concerning free contraception provided by UW-Madison’s UHS.

University spokesperson Meredith McGlone cited this lack of information, saying there is no data that shows a student demand for oral contraceptives.

The student finance committee will vote on the recommendation at their meeting Monday. 

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