MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Wesleyan University is breaking down barriers to reproductive health care by providing free emergency contraception and helping cover abortion costs.
“Starting in the fall semester 2023, DHC will provide all emergency contraceptives (Plan B and Ella) free of charge,” the University said in a written statement. “Consistent with the health center’s mission to provide education and support in the decision-making process, students will be able to access emergency contraceptives by consulting with a nurse at DHC. The University will rely on a student’s insurance plan to pay for abortion services but will offer financial assistance to any student whose insurance does not cover abortions and/or pay co-pays and deductibles after insurance has been filed. Wesleyan University has long provided financial support for those in need beyond what their medical insurance might cover. At a time when reproductive freedom is being threatened around the country, Wesleyan is dedicated to providing students with support for free emergency contraception or for the decision to terminate a pregnancy.”
The changes follow a petition from the Wesleyan Democratic Socialists calling on the university to expand access to services and care in a post-Roe era.
“Wesleyan Democratic Socialists fundamentally believe in the right to abortion access and bodily autonomy, as well as the power that students and young people have in determining their own futures, changing their realities, and building a better world,” the group wrote in a statement.
Students like Zariah Greene supported the move.
“The school has a lot of funding and a lot of money, so it shouldn’t necessarily fall on students to have to do all these things,” Greene said.
Wesleyan’s health center already offers birth control, emergency contraception, and sexual health screening and testing as part of its overall services.
“There are certain circumstances that you can’t control,” said Grace Arrese, a student at Wesleyan University. “It should be, I think, at every single school.”
Students News 8 spoke with on Tuesday celebrated the news.
“I think it’s awesome that it’s a covered cost now, we don’t have to worry about it,” hannon Burke said. “I [was] really happy to be a Wesleyan student when I saw that.”
Reproductive rights are protected in Connecticut, but there are pushes to ban abortion services.
“It saddened us that Wesleyan University is going to pay for the abortions of its students,” said Peter Wolfgang, the executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut.
Wolfgang urges the university to reconsider.
“If Wesleyan is willing to pay for the abortions of its student, then it ought to pay for the live birth for their students as well including childcare for the students, who are attending classes and interviewing for jobs and medical care, too,” he said.