Posted on Sat 11 Feb 2017 at 11:55 by Emma-Marie Okoroafor
The November reproductive health survey showed that 83% of respondents believe that there is not enough information about contraception, and 93% believe there is not enough information about abortion access.
The results were surprising. However, considering the nature of sex and relationship education within the U.K, these figures are to be expected. A 2016 report by the Terrence Higgins Trust revealed that 1 in 7 young people did not receive sex and relationships education (SRE); of those who did, 50% rated it negatively, with nearly two-thirds of students having received only one lesson a year.
Students evidently feel that more information about sexual health and reproductive health is needed, and therefore I recently worked with Warwick Pride to distribute a print resource detailing where to access these medical services should they need them.
Following this a collective of students worked to created policy that reflects the union’s stated objectives in “promoting the interests and welfare of Students at the University of Warwick.” The policy was passed through the SU referenda, with over 80% of voters voting in favour of the motion.
This policy resolves that the union will take a position to support the legal rights and wellbeing of all students to access sexual and reproductive health services. The policy reaffirms the need to support the Students’ Union Advice Centre in providing free, independent, impartial advice around these issues. Moreover, it resolves to continue the provision of safer sex materials like condoms to all students, upon request, and also mandates the union to provide students with unbiased information on where to access reproductive health services locally, which students who responded to the survey highlighted as an area of concern.
The policy does not inhibit students from holding their individual beliefs on the ethics of these services, which we recognise can sometimes be controversial. However, it aims to make sure that students know where they can access medical services that they are legally entitled to access, should they wish to, and to make sure students know that the union supports them.
Women's Officer 2016-2017