Adding to Conversation

CR groups and communication networks allowed for students to realize the blatant discrimination present in the school policy’s around female sexuality and sexualized violence. For some lucky campuses, the students were not alone in their efforts. One of the positive results from students pushing single sex Ivy League schools to become co-educational was women’s health support. Some schools, such as Yale University, opened clinics to provide medical services to the rising numbers of female students. At Yale, just the presence of new female students motivated gynecologist  from the medical school Philip M. Sarrel and his wife Lorna J. Sarrel to open a sex counseling service that offered lectures, counseling, and services for individuals and couples. Dr. Sarrel cited in his report to the American School Health Association in 1970 that within their first year, 65 percent of the 167 undergraduate females requested birth control (Sarrel, 60). Other cases included sexually transmitted diseases, sexual or relationship help, and pregnancy. Dr. Sarrel stated that in nearly all of the cases of student pregnancy, “abortion has been the decision in almost every case [they’ve] seen” (61).

While this clinic provided the discussion of the “realities of the situation- when and how, finances, and the involvement or non-involvement of parents,” and the necessary steps to obtain a legal abortion, many young women at other colleges were not so lucky (61). Even the process at the sex counseling service at Yale that students had to undergo before the abortion was lengthy and continued to be difficult to obtain due to costs, safety, and whether a doctor decided you deserved one. Because of the difficulties, women continued to turn to Jane for illegal abortions. However, the presence of women’s health clinics that offered conversations regarding sex was more than what existed in the past. Clinics on campuses such as the Yale women’s clinic contributed to the belief that women held the right to discuss and make decisions about their bodies and sexuality. Conversations and opportunities like these would add to the national discussion of abortion and women’s rights that is still being held today.

See “Works Cited” in drop down menu for full citations.

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