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How to Access Contraception, Sex, Pregnancy, and Abortion Resources & Care at WashU

| Contributing Writer

The Zenker Wellness Suite in the Atheletic Complex gives away free contraceptives to students, including free Plan B (Ginger Schulte/Student Life).

Even before Missouri implemented its full ban on abortion, accessing reproductive and sexual healthcare as a college student could be overwhelming. There are a myriad of situations where you may find yourself needing this care: maybe you had unprotected sex, you want birth control, you aren’t finding pleasure in your current sex life, or countless other scenarios.

Luckily, WashU’s Habif Health and Wellness Center (and other places and organizations on campus) continues to provide accessible and comprehensive reproductive and sexual care, including contraception, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, and resources for pregnancy, abortion, and sex education.

Habif has great resources on the Washington University website (these links can be found in the article), but sometimes it can be hard to find what you’re looking for and you may need a one-stop place to get quick and simple information for whatever situation you may find yourself in. With the help of Habif’s online resources and Dr. LeBlanc, Habif’s Executive Director, Student Life compiled a comprehensive guide to all things reproductive and sexual health at WashU, for all genders and sexual orientations.

Contraception/Birth Control:

Which contraceptives does WashU/Habif offer and how can I access them?

Long-acting reversible methods (LARC’s):

  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
    • Nonhormonal (Paragard) and hormonal (Mirena and Liletta) IUDs
  • The implant (Nexplanon)
  • The injection (Depo Provera)

All LARC’s above can be placed at Habif Health Center. 

Short-acting hormonal methods:

The combined hormonal pill, progestin pill, patch, or intravaginal ring require a prescription that can be sent to any pharmacy to be picked up, including Habif’s pharmacy (at their Health and Wellness Center).

Emergency Contraception: (Used to prevent pregnancy after you’ve already had unprotected sex).

  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Emergency Contraception Pills
    • Including Ulipristal acetate pill (Ella) (prescription)  and Levonorgestrel-based pills (non-prescription) (Plan B One Step, Take Action, My Way, Option 2, Preventeza, AfterPill, My Choice, Aftera, EContra, and others).

All emergency contraception above can be found at Habif Health Center. Appointments are encouraged to find which method is right for you.  Next-day appointments at Habif open every night. Try to schedule your appointment 1-2 days after having unprotected sex. Non-prescription emergency contraception pills (plan B or generic) are  available without an appointment in the pharmacy at Habif. Most insurance plans cover this at no cost to you.

Plan B can also now be found for free in Zenker Wellness Suite (Sumers Room 303). thanks to the work of student group PPGA (Planned Parenthood Generation Action) and at a cost in Bear Necessities.

Internal and external condoms, dams, and lube:

All can be found for free at Habif Health & Wellness Center, the Zenker Wellness Suite (Sumers Room 303), and through BareMail. All residential buildings, apartments, and Greek Housing should have condoms and lube for free in a dispenser, likely found in your laundry room.

  • BareMail: BareMail delivers free safer sex supplies. All you have to do is fill out their request form and indicate whether you’d like the envelope delivered by mail, or to pick it up from Zenker Wellness Suite. When you fill out the form, you are able to request 3 types of supplies, but can order an unlimited number of envelopes throughout the year. Some of the options include non-latex internal condoms, latex and non-latex external condoms, latex oral dams, water-based lube, and others. 

FAQs: 

If I schedule an appointment with Habif to learn about contraception and choose a method that is best for me, what should I expect?

Maybe you’re not sure what contraceptive method would work best for you. Dr. LeBlanc  explained that Habif can help, “One of our providers would discuss all methods of contraception available, explore your health history, discuss possible side effects and you and the provider would choose what is the best method for you,” she said.

If I schedule an appointment to get an IUD inserted, what does the process look like? 

Getting contraception can be intimidating and you may wonder what to expect. Dr. LeBlanc said that a student will first meet with a provider to discuss various IUDs available during an IUD consultation visit. Once an IUD is chosen, a medical assistant will arrange a separate appointment with our physician who will then insert the IUD. The physician will review the procedure in detail at the beginning of the appointment and answer all questions before inserting the IUD. 

If I get birth control from Habif, how do I pay for it?

Most methods are considered preventative healthcare, meaning insurance will cover the cost, including WashU Student Health Insurance Plan and United Healthcare. For more information on the specifics of each method provided at WashU visit: 

 

Pregnancy & Abortion:

If you are worried, think, or know you are pregnant, you can schedule an appointment with Habif and ask them any questions you may have. They can help you determine if you are pregnant and what is best for you regarding your pregnancy.

Pregnancy Tests:

Free pregnancy tests are available at the Habif Health & Wellness Center and the Zenker Wellness Suite in the Sumers Recreation Center.

What if I am considering or want an abortion?

If you visit Habif to ask about aborton, Dr. LeBlanc explains, “they would give you information about the clinics in Illinois.” WashU’s S.A.R.A.H, the Sexual Assault and Rape Anonymous Helpline, is also offering help for anyone who may need it regarding accessing an abortion. Call 314-935-8080 to access their 24/7 helpline and/or visit sarah.wustl.edu for more information.

There are two clinics that provide abortions in close proximity to WashU:

  • Planned Parenthood (Illinois)
  • Hope Clinic (Illinois)

How do I get transportation for an abortion?

WashU currently does not provide a transportation service. However, Planned Parenthood can help through their Regional Logistics Center: 

How do I pay for an abortion?

There are several resources to receive financial assistance for an abortion. Visit: Missouri Abortion Fund, National Abortion Federation, Chicago Abortion Fund, Right by You.

What if I am considering or want to continue with the pregnancy?

You can receive pregnancy counseling through Habif. If you want to continue the pregnancy, Dr. LeBlanc said that “Habif will refer you to an OB/GYN at Barnes Jewish Hospital.”

Sex:

STI Prevention & Testing:

Habif provides tests for these STIs:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Herpes
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

What does the testing process look like?

Your medical provider will talk to you about possible symptoms and determine if you have any and what options you have. You will get results in “several days (sometimes sooner)” through “phone, secure message, or a return appointment.”

Note that test results will be confidential.

STI Treatment:

Schedule an appointment with Habif to discuss the treatment of an STI which Habif can provide or give you resources for.

Habif offers PrEP (a medication you take daily to prevent getting HIV) and the HPV vaccine (prevents HPV and cervical cancer).

Sex Education:

WashU provides many resources for sex education. Habif and Zenker Wellness Suite (Sumers Room 303) have sex education pamphlets and other information and events. You may also schedule an appointment with Habif to have a consultation with a sexual health provider and discuss any questions you may have.

  • Frisky Fridays:
    • Frisky Fridays occur every Friday from 9 am to 7 pm in Zenker Wellness Suite (Sumers Rec 303). It offers a place to talk with a sexual health expert about any sex questions you may have, including sexual safety and pleasure.

For WashU’s Health and Wellness Digital Library including sexual health resources: https://students.wustl.edu/health-wellness-digital-library/

Gynecological Care and Exams:

Habif provides:

  • Annual “wellness” exam (recommended once you turn 21)
    • According to the WashU website, includes, “a pelvic exam, a pap smear, and a breast exam (to check for breast cancer), a medical, sexual and family history, and a basic physical.”
  • Breast screenings
  • Diagnosis and treatment of gynecological conditions
  • Birth control and family planning advice and counseling
  • Pregnancy testing, counseling and referrals
  • STI testing

For more information on Gynecological Care visit: https://students.wustl.edu/womens-health/

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