Planned Parenthood Club aims to promote women’s health and gender equality

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Alicia Rosenbaum ‘18 holds her #Fight4Her poster during the PPGen event (Courtesy of PPGenLafayette Instagram Account).

Gabrielle Tropp

Launched on campus at a time when criminalizing abortion is an issue being raised in Congress, the Planned Parenthood Generation Action Club plans to work to make women’s health products including contraceptives more available at Lafayette, club founders said.

Approved by student government last Wednesday, the club aims to bring to Lafayette education and volunteer opportunities in the fields of women’s health and gender equality and to “serve as a coalition partner to state, national, and international reproductive rights efforts,” as stated on their LafSync Portal.

Alicia Rosenbaum ‘18 and Alejandra Aguilar ‘20, student coordinators and board members of the club, attended a Planned Parenthood conference with the off-campus group Population Connection, and from that experience the idea for the club was born.

Club president Sarah Hayet ‘18 said that reproductive and health care rights involvement on campus began three years ago with the connection of the Association of Lafayette Feminists and Planned Parenthood Keystone, the umbrella corporation for all the Planned Parenthood clinics in this region of Pennsylvania.

Planned Parenthood Generation Action is coming to campus at a time when the program itself is currently under debate. Earlier this year the Easton Planned Parenthood clinic was closed and consolidated with the Allentown branch. Currently, the closest Planned Parenthood facility to Lafayette is actually the Washington Medical Center in Washington, NJ, while the second closest is the Allentown Medical Center.

Additionally, just this past week, the House of Representatives passed a bill which will ban abortions after the 20-week mark of pregnancy. Hayet says that as the bill is now headed to the Senate, some of the club’s first volunteer opportunities will likely include a letter writing campaign to senators.

The Bailey Health Center has some reproductive health services including pap smears, STD testing, pregnancy tests and birth control options. Daisy Campos ’20, a fellow board member, said that one goal is to help make services such as emergency contraception more affordable at Bailey’s.

Club advisor and Dean of Equity and Inclusion Chris Hunt, Hayet and Rosenbaum said they want the campus to know that there are options available. Planned Parenthood Generation Action wants to take “practical steps as an institution” toward inclusivity in, education about and access to comprehensive health care.

Rosenbaum indicated that since the club is just getting started they don’t have a definite agenda yet, but that they hope to “educate students on what Planned Parenthood does and how we can help them, [as well as] provide opportunities for people to volunteer.”

Campos also said that the idea behind PPGen Action is to “inform the Lafayette community about reproductive justice and empower them to stand up for women’s health through advocacy and electoral work,” she wrote in an email.

Hayet ’18 calls these two goals, education and volunteerism, “two sides of the same coin…The education piece will empower people to take action.”

“One of our goals that we’re working on is making menstrual pads and tampons available in Farinon and all the academic buildings. I’m hoping that we can partner with Bailey’s,” she said. “[Another] beneficial thing would be to provide a shuttle [to Planned Parenthood] for students who need it.”

Aside from working with Hunt, the new club also works with a coordinator from Planned Parenthood itself. While Hunt has not yet had a chance to work with the executive board, he is excited to work alongside them.

“Anytime there is a group of students who are advocating on behalf of others, particularly if it relates to justice, that’s something that I always want to be involved in,” Hunt said.