United Fems and H*yas for Choice form concerted campaign for reproductive rights at Georgetown

H*yas for Choice and United Feminists have partnered up in a new campaign that’s demanding substantial change in Georgetown’s reproductive rights policies. The latter being a University-recognized group, the new movement has the potential to endanger UF’s funding and legitimacy.

Through the campaign, called “Plan A: Hoyas for Reproductive Justice,” the coalition is making demands for access to material benefits, like contraceptives on campus and rape kits at the Georgetown University Hospital, greater free speech allowances for groups like H*yas for Choice, and “comprehensive health education.”

“These are really rational demands broadly supported by the Georgetown community,” Marion Cory (COL ’10), a board member of United Feminists, told Vox. “It boils down to basic rights, student safety, and student needs.”

Acknowledging that their campaign must adapt to the fact that its advocacy will take place on a Catholic campus, Cory explained that she felt confident their efforts could be successful because their demands were in fact in keeping with Jesuit ideals.

“We don’t see [this campaign] as overcoming Jesuit values, we see it more as asking for Georgetown to consider these issues in their true form, not just the narrows lens it uses now.” she said. “There are a lot of pieces to this issue, like social justice and providing for the health and safety of all people equally.”

She pointed to an open letter the two groups have already written to President John DeGioia on their coalitions’ blog, which she said used a lot of the University’s own language to speak to their demands:

“Issues related to reproductive justice disproportionately affect the lives of people in historically marginalized communities, such as women, people of color, and the economically disadvantaged– the very communities for which Georgetown professes to advocate.

“In addition, the approach Georgetown has taken with regard to discourse around these same issues has been anything but dialogue-promoting. Rather than allow students to openly engage with and discuss issues of choice, sexual health, and contraception, which undeniably shape the society we inhabit, university policies stifle and even prohibit this important exchange of ideas.”

After the jump, the full letter and what this may mean for UF’s Access to University Benefits.

Heather Brock (COL ’10), the president of H*yas for Choice, agreed, and said that in a city with astronomical HIV/AIDS rates, for example, it is irresponsible for the University not to provide for its students’ health by providing condoms and better sexual education.

“When we think about cura personalis and men and women for others, we think about caring for the whole person, and for me that definitely includes sexual health,” Brock said. “And access to informational health.”

As a University-funded student club, United Feminists may be in danger of losing its Access to Benefits in the course of this campaign because it is advocating from a pro-choice position. Brock and Cory recalled that at UF’s founding, members were explicitly warned not to take a pro-choice stance on any issues. But Cory said that warning in and of itself was demonstrative of the censorship problems plaguing H*yas for Choice.

“Potentially, we may lose our Access to Benefits, but that’s what we find as sort of the irony of this—there’s one group that’s been allowed into accepted campus discourse but also this other group that’s been condemned … But whether this imperils our Access to Benefits, we find this campaign imperative. For us to do otherwise is a failure to meet our responsibilities as students to keep Georgetown being what it claims to be—concerned for equality.”

The full open letter to DeGioia:

An Open Letter to President John J. DeGioia February 5, 2010
Dear President DeGioia,
As a Catholic, Jesuit institution Georgetown University is committed to the principles of social justice and open dialogue. While Georgetown offers a myriad of ways to engage with and promote these ideals, its interpretations of both have been selective rather than comprehensive. Adhering to these principles in an honest and non-discriminatory way requires Georgetown to re-evaluate its consideration of and practice regarding reproductive justice.
First, Georgetown must acknowledge reproductive justice as a social justice issue. Georgetown’s current attitude and policies misunderstand reproductive justice as a limited set of concerns and practices removed from a socio-economic context. This narrow scope dangerously compromises Georgetown’s commitment to social justice. Issues related to reproductive justice disproportionately affect the lives of people in historically marginalized communities, such as women, people of color, and the economically disadvantaged– the very communities for which Georgetown professes to advocate.
In addition, the approach Georgetown has taken with regard to discourse around these same issues has been anything but dialogue-promoting. Rather than allow students to openly engage with and discuss issues of choice, sexual health, and contraception, which undeniably shape the society we inhabit, university policies stifle and even prohibit this important exchange of ideas. These issues are forcibly removed from student dialogue, making it almost impossible for them to be approached with anything other than closed-mindedness and ignorance.
In order to be in accordance with its own policies and stated principles, Georgetown University must change the way that it approaches issues related to dialogue and practice around reproductive justice and sex education. As a coalition of students, we have outlined specific steps Georgetown must take in order to fully respect the rights and needs of all of its students.

I. Access to Material Resources

1.   Condoms should be available on campus. Stores on Georgetown University property, along with the Georgetown Hospital pharmacy, should be able to sell condoms. This access is crucial to the health and safety of Georgetown students.

2.   Birth control pills for contraceptive purposes, other contraceptive methods, and emergency contraception must be prescribed in the Student Health Center, distributed by Georgetown Hospital pharmacy, and covered by Georgetown’s insurance policy.

3.   Rape kits must be provided at Georgetown University Hospital. On a college campus with alarmingly high rates of sexual assault and rape, it is crucial that Georgetown actively advocate on behalf of its female students. In the case that rape kits cannot be made available due to the hospital’s inability to treat such cases, free transportation to and from the alternate location must be provided to Georgetown students by Georgetown University.

4.   The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, must be stocked and available in the Student Health Center at all times.

II. Access to Informational Resources: Full Disclosure

1.   Comprehensive sex education §  Sex education at Georgetown should be available and facilitated through the office of Health Education Services. As part of their responsibilities as the providers of health education, this department should host semesterly sex-education programs. These programs should explicitly cover contraceptive options, safe-sex measures specific to LGBTQ communities, and the full range of options available to pregnant students. The staff of Health Education Services should be equipped with the necessary resources in order to offer explicit, comprehensive and non-heteronormative information.§  Although Health Education Services is the institutional resource for sex education, student groups and other departments should be uninhibited and encouraged in promoting the dissemination of information related to sexual health.§  Georgetown must cease its censorship of programming that includes information about non-reproductive sexual practices.

2.   Health Education Services must be able, at all times, to fully disclose all legal options for students with regard to contraceptives and abortion services. §  Staff should be able to offer information about these services without the students’ explicit request; it should not be assumed that students have prior knowledge of the full range of contraceptive options or abortion services, nor should they be discouraged by Georgetown University staff from pursuing any of their legal options.§  The concern of the university should always be the health and safety of its students. Staff must, then, be willing and able to inform students on every available option and help them make the decision that is best for their particular situation.

III. Free Speech and Open Dialogue: Adherence to a Consistent Moral Ethic

“Discourse is central to the life of the university. To forbid or limit discourse contradicts everything the university stands for.” ­

Center for Student Programs Speech and Expression Policy

The Center for Student Programs Speech and Expression policy explicitly states that all students “enjoy the right to freedom of speech and expression. This freedom includes the right to express points of view on the widest range of public and private concerns and to engage in the robust expression of ideas” subject only to restrictions of “time, place, and manner.” All student groups, therefore, have the right to engage in open, uncensored dialogue and discussion around all issues, including reproductive justice and abortion.

According to this policy, the ideology behind H*yas for Choice or any other pro-choice student group cannot in itself be sufficient grounds to bar it from full recognition as a student group or the benefits that accompany that status. As stated in the Center for Student Programs’ Speech and Expression Policy, “Violation of these principles, by whatever parties, must have consequences…Making it impossible for others to speak or be heard or seen, or in any way obstructing the free exchange of ideas, is an attack on the core principles the University lives by and may not be tolerated.” The university is not just limiting free speech by barring H*yas for Choice and other pro-choice perspectives from full enfranchisement in the University community; by allowing discourse around reproductive rights to be one-sided and by endorsing one particular viewpoint the University also eliminates any prospect for real, substantive dialogue.
1.  In order to uphold Georgetown’s standards of free speech, it is imperative that student organizations have the ability to respectfully express their perspectives, including those that are pro-choice. 2.  Prohibiting the recognition of H*yas for Choice as a legitimized student organization is in direct conflict with the Center for Student Programs free speech policy and Georgetown’s commitment to open dialogue. As such, H*yas for Choice or any future pro-choice organization should have equal status with all other student groups. This status imparts access to the same monetary benefits as all other groups and the ability to use Georgetown’s name and/or logo in association with the group.

As a university dedicated to the free exchange of ideas, social justice, and care of the whole person, Georgetown must transform its approach to reproductive justice, both in practice and in the dialogue it promotes. We hope that you will take the necessary steps to make Georgetown into the place it claims to be.

We look forward to a reply within a week.


H*yas for Choice and United Feminists



94 Comments on “United Fems and H*yas for Choice form concerted campaign for reproductive rights at Georgetown

  1. Here’s an idea:

    The Student Activities Fee was a voluntary ‘tax’, voted on by the students themselves in a 2001 referendum, to provide revenue for student activities at Georgetown. As GUSA demonstrated forcefully this semester, the money it raises belongs to the students and can, should and must be administered solely at the discretion of the students. The money should be untainted by the Access to Benefits policy; Hoyas for Choice or any other group should be able to get at the student money if they are able.

    Other schools view student activities fees in the same manner, and merely charge a ‘collection fee’ to the student governments for the administrative expense of collecting the money (via the term bill) – usually a small, nominal sum. The school having been reimbursed, the remainder of the money is fully in the hands of students to distribute as they see fit.

    This neatly sidesteps the conflict of having a Catholic university having to use its own funds to sponsor activities in conflict with its teachings while still allowing groups to get funding. To provide an added conscience measure, there could be an opt-out box to check off for students who object to their tuition dollars being spent in conflict with the Access to Benefits policy. The SA Fee brings in around $640,000/year; so, hypothetically, if 10% of students objected, students could not use $64,000 out of the $640,000 to fund non-A2B compliant groups and initiatives [i.e., 576,000 would be ‘unrestricted’].

    I think the ability exists to argue that the fee should be viewed this way, but I think a referendum seeking to specifically clarify the point couldn’t hurt. It’s our money that we voted to give (compared to, say, tuition), and we should be able to spend it in any way we see fit.

  2. I appreciate that United fems can have a way to exist after they lose their access to benefits, which I bet they will.
    But here’s an idea:
    Why don’t you stop co-opting the extremely important issue of women’s bodies and sexual health to plug for gusa club reform?

  3. Actually, if you stopped blindly hating GUSA for five seconds, you would see that the issue is an extremely important one when/if the axe finally falls on UF.

  4. Could someone elaborate on the hospital not doing rape kits? Do rape kits include Plan B or something? I don’t get that. I get the no contraception thing; that’s obvious (whether you agree or not). I also know that the hospital, as part of the sale, had to agree to specific policies to stay “true” to a Catholic identity.

  5. While I too have questions about the rape kits, most of these demands are completely out of place. This is a catholic University and it has never made a secret about it. These people want the benefits provided by a jesuit education without having to bear the responsibility of conforming to the accepted values of that tradition, namely that abortion and abortive contraception is viewed as murdering a human being and that healthy sexual relationships only exist in the institution of marriage. Dealing with those doctrines is the price you have to pay to get the benefits of a Georgetown Education. If you don’t want to tolerate those strictures, you do not have to go here. Don’t walk into a bar mitzvah and complain that its unfair they won’t serve you pork chops.

  6. @jacob

    Censorship is not a Jesuit ideal.

    Where on my acceptance letter was the footnote that enrolling in Georgetown University meant “conforming to the accepted values…that abortion and abortive contraception is viewed as murdering a human being and that healthy sexual relationships only exist in the institution of marriage”? I guess I missed that little drop-in while I was jumping up and down with excitement.

    Also, birth control, condoms, and rape kits are NOT abortive contraception.

    It will be interesting to see how much of this debate will be dominated by men, and certainly how much of the administration decision-making process is controlled by men.

  7. While I support this letter in theory, I am incredibly concerned by United Feminist’s cavalier attitude towards its “access to benefits.” I am uncomfortable with the idea that this university will likely lose its only unabashedly feminist group. Furthermore, this is going to make it exceedingly difficult to restart a feminist group or start new feminist groups with SAC funding, since the history of these groups, now, is just to lose their access.

    I am, without a doubt, pro-choice, and my name appears in Vox and in The Hoya (and thus, on a number of well-read Catholic websites, which is a little scary) because of the one major pro-choice initiative I have created since arriving at Georgetown. I’m searchable. I believe this with all my heart. But this is something H*yas for Choice should have – and COULD have – taken up on its own. Reproductive choice isn’t the only women’s issue, and we need United Feminists because there’s more to accomplish, on this campus and elsewhere.

  8. Georgetown’s definitely never made a secret of the fact that it’s a Catholic institution, but it also is disturbingly silent in admissions materials about the ways this identity will impact students ability to access the information and resources mentioned in the letter. If it really is so important to the Catholic identity and the administration is proud of these policies, when they are talking about the Catholic identity in admissions materials, why don’t they simply say:

    “As a Catholic institution, Georgetown University believes that abortion and contraception is viewed as murdering a human being and that healthy sexual relationships only exist in the institution of marriage. As such, Georgetown students will not have access to abortion or contraception covered by student health insurance. They will not be able to pick up prescriptions for contraception at the hospital pharmacy, and condoms will not be available free or for sale on any property owned by the university.”

    I suspect they neglect to mention these things because they know that most prospective applicants would see these as outdated and absurd policies that negatively affect the health and safety of students and intrude unreasonably on their personal lives.

  9. Jacob, you do shame to our name. The logic of if you do not like something, go elsewhere is a fallacy and always has been. If you do not like something, you don’t run from it, you work to change it. If this wasn’t the case, Georgetown would remain an all-white, all-male institution. Things change with time, as they ought to. This campaign appears to be working to reconcile Georgetown with the realities of being a modern university and it is about time.

  10. Not sure about the exact status of rape kits at the Georgetown Hospital, but I do know that if you call 911 to report a rape, they will normally take you to Washington Hospital Center because they are the hospital in DC with SANE nurses on staff and on call at all times. See here: http://www.dcrcc.org/sexual_assault/your_options/

  11. Is it the case, then, that Georgetown purposefully chooses not to certify such a nurse?

  12. Analogy fail.

    Being denied pork chops at a five hour event is not at all like being denied what many see as vital health care for four years. Yes, Georgetown is a Catholic university, but we are also a university that claims to support and accept all other faiths and belief systems. What happened to the interreligious understanding and community in diversity that we see tacked up on every blue Ignatian ideals poster around campus?

    Allowing students to be prescribed birth control or buy condoms on campus doesn’t go against Catholic ideals; Catholic students aren’t forced to buy them or use them. It’s merely acknowledging that not all students and not even all Catholics feel the same way about these issues and allowing for greater religious diversity and pluralism.

  13. @ @Matt
    “Why don’t you stop co-opting the extremely important issue of women’s bodies and sexual health to plug for gusa club reform?”

    I’m trying to show a way that clubs that don’t have Access to Benefits can get funding. If that’s not an important issue for Hoyas for Choice or United Feminists, than I think I’ve misread their goals for the past several years.

    I know it might be surprising that club funding reform affects people other than GUSA, but it’s true. In fact, it mostly affects people and clubs other than GUSA. That’s the point. Letting anybody get money from the students’ money if the students and their elected officials approve, without requirements of towing some official Catholic dogma.

    Commentators above make the salient point that students know they are coming to a Catholic school when they accepted Georgetown’s offer. A Catholic university cannot conscionably engage or condone through its own funding in acts which are contrary to its teaching. As someone pointed out above, you shouldn’t be surprised if you go to Yeshiva University and can’t use your groups’ money to hold a pig-roast.

    But if we view the student activities fee as students’ – and not Georgetown’s – money, we amicably solve both problems. We let Georgetown stick to its Catholic doctrine, student groups still get money, and students who feel deeply about not giving their own money to activities contravening Catholic doctrine can withhold.

  14. The point is that United Feminists exists as an organization and expresses pro-choice views as part of their mission, so why shouldn’t HFC? I think that the “risk of loss of benefits” is an effect of University censorship to students. Yes, the University may oppose certain activities but why does it not let students state their opinion when, as Matt pointed out, we’re being taxed for it?

    The point of this article shouldn’t be that UF might lose its benefits as it is a risk but not a reality, it should be about what the campaign is about and why Georgetown needs these changes on campus. Some of the demands are more extreme, but if you’re going to attack one aspect of Georgetown’s policy, why not go for all of it?

    Personally, I think some demands are more reasonable than others – for instance, don’t you think it’s fucked up that our Health Services policy is that they cannot bring up contraception and other ways to engange in safe sex in conversation with a student unless the student specifically asks about it? On a college campus where you still get students who say, “Oh I didn’t know I could get pregnant if .” <–I have both heard this anecdotally and from students themselves.

    Vittles tried to start selling condoms in the early 1990's and the University told them to cease and desist; yes it is a university-owned space and so the university can threaten to revoke their lease, but does that make it right? I don't think so.

    There are a lot of things on this campus that are dangerous to students health and worrying to me, but that do not get challenged because they are put under an umbrella of "sex education is not in accordance with Catholic values." Education is in accordane with Jesuit values, isn't it?

    p.s. If you're worried about the existence of a feminist organization on this campus, join one and have an influence on the decision making process.

  15. Yes you’re right that might ‘amicably’ solve the problem of the restriction of free speech at Georgetown. But it does nothing about the other, arguably more important, planks of the campaign. Like having rape kits available on campus.

  16. @different @Matt:

    What’s the argument on rape kits? I have to say I didn’t follow that at all. Does it include the Morning After Pill or something? If not, I don’t see how it’s against Catholic doctrine at all.

  17. @Dusty-

    I understand what the point of the article is, thanks. I also happened to be worried about another point mentioned. I *did* read the whole article. Is that okay with you?

    The points you make are valid, but until the system changes, I worry about what this will do to UF. What else do H*yas for Choice and UF plan to do to make this a reality? Because if you aren’t doing more than sending a letter, that’s not going to cause systemwide change – it’s just going to piss of a lot of people, and on top of not making changes, UF will stop getting university funding.

    Please keep in mind that I’m not arguing against the demands – I fully support the mission, and I hope H*yas for Choice can continue to work on it. I just wish UF was willing to work on what you refer to as the “more reasonable” demands, which would allow it to keep its funding intact even if the systemwide change thing fails.

    Previously, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to be actively involved in a feminist organization on campus because I thought they were doing a decent job. This is something that concerns me, though. Maybe I will show up at the next UF general meeting and express my frustration.

  18. Just to clarify, when United Feminists became a SAC group, and every time they request funding for an event or program, the have been instructed specifically to NOT plan anything that clearly pushes a pro-choice agenda. An “open conversation” can be had, as long as both “sides” of the debate are represented, but the only student group that is allowed to actually campaign for what they believe, or even express their views unapologetically, is Right to Life. In terms of UF risking their Access to Funding, it seems like the group has decided that it may not be possible to be unabashedly feminist and not demand reproductive health materials and services on a college campus.

    Regarding the idea from GUSA– THANK YOU for actually being productive and finding ways for students to have access to safe sex materials and information. I think your point is also showing how much of the student population is really on board with this campaign- we know that if it were up to the students, we would have access to all of these things. I think the idea is that it ultimately shouldn’t be students responsibility (that’s who it’s falling on now).

  19. Rape kits usually (if not always) include Plan B, so I see the reasoning, but it is fairly ridiculous that Catholic ideology comes before health of students. Georgetown does not advertise such policies to prospective students, but I think that it would impact some students’ decisions of choosing Georgetown. I do believe we also have a policy about cohabitation, but that certainly isn’t followed.

  20. @UF Clarity: Even if the SAF was an “opt-in” provision, I still think you’d get well over a majority of campus saying that their funds should be unrestricted and available for use for ANY student group on campus. As you say, I think the overwhelming majority of students support having condoms on campus, access to HPV vaccines, the morning after pill, etc. — so let them vote with their own money.

    The orthodox Catholics can refuse to give their money and they can rest content knowing neither their money nor the University’s money is being used for these purposes.

  21. No, I’m not saying that it IS the point of the article; I’m saying that Redden has overemphasized the effects rather than the cause in this particular article. And focusing on the potential loss of benefits detracts from the goals/demands. The university has not, as of yet, responded to this letter even though it has been in their possession for over three weeks now. Loss of benefits = worst case scenario. And UF will hopefully continue next year, with or without SAC approval.

    When I first heard about the campaign, I was slightly upset as well because I felt there were other resources UF could be devoting its time to. But the students initially behind it are really passionate about it and that’s the direction they decided to take it in.

    I’m sure if you show up to the next UF meeting then you’ll find out what their mission is beyond letter writing. However, I think it’s a good idea to talk to the administration and try to create dialogue on campus before taking more extreme actions and that is (what I think) is the point of the creation of a blog/website/fb group.

    The 1st two paragraphs of my last post were directed at you; the rest is for the general audience that may not know the facts.

  22. You’re wrong. Rape kits do not include Plan B, so you should stop “seeing the reasoning”. They are for the collection of forensic evidence of sexual assault. It has absolutely nothing to do with abortion, contraception, or voluntary sex before marriage. Quite frankly, this should be a no-brainer for the University.

  23. As a rape victim, they do indeed include plan B – at least depending on where you receive it. Also, if you read Really’s comment, he/she agrees that it is a health concern and not a religious one. Think before you write.

  24. What disturbs me is the lack of understanding for the purpose of the Catholic teaching against abortion and birth control. Catholics view, generally, this teaching to be upholding the dignity and life of the human person. Using birth control in sexual activity before marriage does not allow for the possibility for the generation of life within the context of a committed and loving relationship–denigrating the sacredness of the sexual act that exists both for unitive and reproductive purposes. The Catholic understanding of human freedom is those actions that protect and promote human love, not a liberation of desires (sexual or otherwise) for the sole purpose of self-centered pleasure. The self-discipline that is developed through chaste living is beneficial for the growth and development of the whole human person and provides a freedom within human relationships that encourages authentic human love, not a lustful enslavement to sexual desires and a denigration of the person into a means to an end. In other words, by upholding the Catholic teaching on reproductive health, Georgetown views itself as protecting the dignity of its students and encouraging their ability to freely engage in authentic loving relationships, even if it only takes this effort so far in its policies compared to other Catholic institutions.

  25. GUSA should do what it did with the keg ban — sponsor a referendum on access to contraception. Or, even on access to benefits. It wouldn’t be binding (as it wasn’t with the keg ban) but it would be a powerful demonstration of what the student body wants and it would spawn an excellent debate on campus about what the role of student opinion should be in shaping policies that affect only/primarily students.

    It annoys me when people on here say “the student body wants access to condoms” (hey — they are accessible if you just walk to CVS) or “this is a Catholic university” (hey — the students are part of the university and they aren’t all Catholic). I don’t know what the results of a referendum would be, but at least we’d have some finite answers about what the student body believes. And I bet there’d be a hell of a campaign!

    Preempting a potential criticism of this idea: sponsoring the referendum wouldn’t be a pro-choice move in contradiction of Catholic teachings, it’s just taking a poll of the student body. So, GUSA could definitely do it and any group could participate in the exchange of ideas through the papers, Facebook, Red Square, etc.

    Come on GUSA, add it to the ballot! Let’s see how the students feel!

  26. I do think before I write, that’s why I did some research online beforehand to check if I was actually right because this is an important question, whether rape kits have Plan b. For example here: http://www.uiowa.edu/~wrac/assault.shtml rape kits and plan B are two distinct parts of the process. http://www.privatefamilymatter.com/sexual/rape-is-a-felony-crime/60-contents-of-a-rape-kit and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_kit each describe rape kits as a package of forensic evidence gathering tools. Or this from New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services: “The Sexual Offense Evidence Collection Kit was developed to create a standard protocol for hospital personnel to follow in the collection of evidence from persons involved in any criminal incident involving a sexual offense.”

  27. In response to @really?, I agree with the cause at hand (I’m on the H*yas for Choice board…). It’s just that it is DC law to provide emergency contraception to rape victims

    “D.C. Code Ann. §7-2121 et seq. (2009) require hospital emergency rooms to provide emergency contraception and prophylactic antibiotics for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases to victims of sexual assault. The law requires emergency room personnel to provide the patient with medically and factually accurate written information regarding emergency contraception and prophylactic antibiotics; to provide an oral explanation of the written information distributed; to orally inform the patient in a language they understand of the option to be provided with these treatments; and to immediately provide treatment upon request in a manner consistent with accepted medical practice and protocols. Also specifies that hospitals must have written policies and procedures to ensure that all personnel who provide care or information to a victim of sexual assault are trained to provide medically and factually accurate and objective information about emergency contraception and prophylactic antibiotics; to actually provide that information to the patient; and to ensure immediate access to treatment. (2009 D.C. Stat., Chap. 17-664, Bill 17-323)”

    which is one reason why they would not be eager to provide rape kits. It is a health issue and not one of ideology, though, in my opinion.

  28. I don’t see how not providing rape kits, even those including Plan B, at a hospital is “protecting the dignity of its students and encouraging their ability to freely engage in authentic loving relationships”.

    As far as birth control in the insurance policy and condoms on campus, providing these things will not prevent the university from “protecting the dignity of its students and encouraging their ability to freely engage in authentic loving relationships” either. It will merely allow those students who choose to view their sexual relationships in a broader context other than as “a lustful enslavement to sexual desires and a denigration of the person into a means to an end.” to do so safely. selling condoms to someone who chooses to have sex is not going to affect someone else’s ability or choice to remain chaste.

  29. Wow. Just wow.

    “Denigrating the sacredness of the sexual act”? “Lustful enslavement to sexual desires”?

    Outside of your own pejorative phrasing, which could make Mother Teresa look like Pol Pot, what exactly makes sex so bad? And why, whenever someone has sex outside of marriage is it evidence of a “lustful enslavement to sexual desires”? So people who are married never have sex outside of reproductive/unitive purposes? You don’t think that married people ever just want to have sex because it feels good?

    And even if that is what the Catholic Church teaches and Georgetown therefore believes, it is not the belief of everyone and it is certainly not Georgetown’s place to make those decisions for everyone. What was it you were saying about human freedom?

  30. You know who’s lustfully enslaved to sexual desires? People without a healthy outlet for them.

  31. This is about health and economics. The University is using economic coercion in an attempt to get students to adhere to the University position on sexuality. If you have the time, money, and physical ability, sure you can access condoms and birth control through CVS without insurance. But the students most affected by these policies are the ones who don’t have the money, don’t have the time b/c (for example) they’re working, or have a physical disability that makes it difficult for them to get to doctors willing to prescribe birth control or pharmacies willing to distribute them.

    If the university believes that it is its role to use its power over students to make it more difficult for students to make their own decisions about sexuality, then they should enforce rules against cohabitation and otherwise force *all* students to adhere to Catholic doctrine instead of simply exerting this force of traditionally marginalized groups.

  32. That’s a brilliant idea. I think it would be really helpful both in talking about this campaign and in the future. The university administration should know how the students feel about these issues, and what better organization to tell the university how students feel than GUSA.

  33. Not touching rape kits etc., but do we really need ‘safe sex education’ at one of the top Universities in America? Really? And we’re kidding ourselves if we think that students at Georgetown can’t afford birth control. Condoms are 10 dollars for 20. I don’t think there’s anyone saying ‘I go to one of the most expensive schools in America but I’ll get AIDS/pregnant/etc. instead of paying that 50 cents.’

  34. It’s called financial aid. This might be news to you, but there are a whole lot of people attending this university who aren’t paying full price for it.

    Also, a significant portion of the student body went to Catholic and/or Jesuit secondary schools and have never received significant, accurate and explicit sex ed.

  35. Can’t they just get rape kits w/o the morning after pill? My skimming through the heated comments might have missed it, but doesn’t that seem like a pretty good compromise solution? That way we have the 98% of rape kits that I’m sure GU wouldn’t object to but if you really want the morning after pill, you walk to CVS. Or get your friend to walk to CVS.

  36. First of all, I want to remind you that not all students who go to “one of the most expensive schools in America” are wealthy or even socio-economically “well-off.” I, for one, receive a lot of financial aid including a work study allotment and work 20+ hours/week in order to feed myself and pay my bills so that I can attend “one of the most expensive schools in America.” Also, hormonal contraceptives like the pill, patch, ring, and depo shot are not cheap. Yaz, for example, is over $50 at CVS. Generic versions cost $20-$25 at CVS. That’s $20/month for hormonal contraception plus the cost of condoms (since we are talking about STI prevention as well), plus the cost of going to a doctor who is not on-campus to get the prescription, etc. I’m a student at Georgetown, and I can’t afford that.

    Second, I do think that we need safe sex education at Georgetown. I have attended comprehensive sex education events hosted by H*yas for Choice where multiple students did not know that you should pinch the tip of the condom before placing it on the penis so that there is a space for the ejaculate. Obviously, students at “one of the top Universities in America” do need safe sex education if they can’t figure out how to properly put on a condom.

  37. As “Really?” said above, DC Law requires that emergency rooms offer emergency contraception. Even if they didn’t, emergency contraception is *extremely* time sensitive. Every minute counts, and asking someone to walk to a pharmacy that’s open whenever someone happened to have raped them after they’ve already been at the emergency room for several hours getting a rape exam could give time for a pregnancy to happen. Even if time weren’t an issue, a rape survivor has the right to expect full medical care from a hospital emergency room (as do we all).

  38. Perhaps I should clarify: I am a rather sexually active student (if I may say so myself) on financial aid. I spend 10 dollars a month on contraception and have no children and no STDs. There is no one at Georgetown – even someone getting financial aid out their ears – who cannot afford 10 dollars a month on contraception if it’s something that’s important to them. And, there’s no one at the University who’s dumb enough to think it’s not necessary to buy cheaper alcohol and get some sort of contraception instead (even if they wear condoms w/out pinching the tip, a practice I’ve often found unnecessary).

  39. This comment is directed at Why Are Catholics So Crazy?! Thank you for actually being familiar with Catholic philosophical teachings instead of the usual platitudes that people throw around. Glad to know someone is actually doing their homework.

  40. @ @most people OP –

    Guys like you (who don’t pinch) are the reason a lot of girls are on birth control, which most of the time costs more than $10/month. I’m sure all those with whom you are sleeping appreciate that you’ve decided they need a 15% higher chance of getting pregnant…

  41. @ @most people OP-
    Dude, you need to get things checked out if the condom is baggy enough up top that pinching the tip doesn’t matter. Either you need some sex ed classes or a penis pump.

  42. This is a great and really necessary campaign. So glad to see the start of substantial activism on these issues. Georgetown’s policies are outrageous and need to be changed immediately.

  43. to me, it seems that emergency contraception for rape victims is not really an issue on which one can compromise. this is an issue central to the protection of a woman’s heath, and after a woman survives something as emotionally scarring as a rape, it does not seem appropriate to force her to find her own source of EC/ heighten the risk of pregnancy. as someone else said, not receiving EC in a timely manner heightens the risk of pregnancy. of all the egregious offenses against women’s health at this university, not providing rape kits seems to be the most absurd. its one thing to ask students to walk to cvs to buy condoms. its quite another not to have the basic human compassion to provide the necessary services when a student has been raped.
    best of luck to ufems and hfc :-).

  44. Isn’t going to Georgetown great? I can do whatever I want on the weekends, then demand that the institution support my choices! “Virtue”? “Enslaved to desires?” What weirdo talks like that? It’s like people are basing their opinions on thousands of years of philosophy and theology. What piffle. We know better. This is the 21st century! I need to have sex, and so if I say condoms are “essential health care,” they are.

  45. Yes, that’s right: getting raped and not having adequate health care supplies at Georgetown hospital is “doing whatever you want on the weekends.” I, too, think it’s better to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that college students aren’t going to have sex and that there isn’t a high rate of HIV and STDs in the district. It’s definitely better to let the antiquated, misguided, and bizarre theological spinnings of an institution controlled exclusively by sexually repressed men determine the realistic health choices for a modern, multicultural student body.

  46. Are we totally sure that Georgetown Hospital doesn’t administer rape kits at all? I haven’t seen anyone post anything that says that they don’t do rape kits in the first place. However, the Georgetown Hospital website mentions what happens in a rape situation, in the following link under the “SIGNS AND TESTS” and “TREATMENT” sections towards the bottom.


    I know it doesn’t explicitly say whether they do them or don’t do them, but to claim they don’t do them altogether without any solid evidence certainly works against their mention of them on their website. If they don’t do them, I would say it is unlikely that they would describe the procedure on their website.

    Also, I found this article from a few years back from; I would assume it holds true now as well:


    Note the quote at the bottom: “We hope that Georgetown University Hospital would abide by its stated policy and administer a rape kit if a similar situation occurred here. According to GUH spokesperson Megan Duke, ‘If someone comes in saying they’ve been raped, we don’t refuse anyone.'”

  47. Hold on, and if it is DC law that a rape kit and emergency contraception be made available in ALL hospital emergency rooms, then why is there any reason to think that they do not? Until anyone can come up with any hard evidence that this DOESN’T happen, and that rape kits are not provided, I think we need to debunk part of the campaign as baseless fearmongering to get more people on their side for an invented issue.

    Rape kits are not forbidden at Georgetown Hospital. Someone prove me wrong.

    Anyway, this brings us back to the condom and birth control conversation. To which I think “Isn’t college great?” hit the nail on the head. Please respond without the fearmongering that comes from this lie that Georgetown Hospital ignores rape victims.

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