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Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Connect Spartanburg:

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By: Sheridan Kate Murray, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at 11 a.m., members of Kappa Alpha Theta gathered to attend an information session on contraceptives hosted by Connect Spartanburg. An initiative of the Mary Black Foundation, funded through the office of Adolescent Health, Connect seeks to advocate for adolescent sexual health, healthy relationships and educational services. Representatives from Connect met with all four sororities on campus to discuss contraception methods for women and options for accessing birth control methods in Spartanburg.

Connect serves as a liaison between sexual health service providers and the adolescents of Spartanburg, supplying lists of local organizations that provide contraceptives, immunizations, tests for sexually transmitted diseases and infections and one on one contraception counseling.

Members of Connect were present for the sexual health seminar, as well as Lisa Lefebvre, Wofford’s director of employee wellness and medical services. The seminar began with a video on sexual health, focusing on women from ages 14-19 but applicable to women in their young twenties as well. The Connect representatives then presented sexual health statistics that were specific to young women and the city of Spartanburg.

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According to Connect Spartanburg, 80% of pregnancies for women under 24 are still unplanned. Spartanburg County is no stranger to these statistics, although, according to Connect, rates of unplanned pregnancy have decreased by 47% due to efforts of organizations like their own. Additionally, in the Spartanburg area one in four people under 24 years old have a sexually transmitted infection of some kind.

Many methods of contraception were discussed, including birth control pills, patches, the NuvaRing, implants, emergency contraception and the IUD or intrauterine device. Emergency contraception, or “Plan B,” was also discussed. The importance of utilizing both condoms and female birth control was emphasized and several locations were mentioned that can provide these services. Piedmont Care was one place mentioned for providing free HIV testing and free condoms.

Lefebvre, speaking on behalf of Wofford wellness services, reminded the young women that Wofford provides free condoms in the lobby of the Wellness Center and is now providing them in exam rooms at the Center. She also noted that while Wofford does not carry emergency contraception due to the lack of demand and its somewhat quick expiration, the Wellness Center is able to point students in the direction of resources that can provide this product and many others.

The seminar concluded with a question and answer session where participants could submit their own sexual health questions and get real-time responses. Additionally, the young women in attendance were asked to give their contact information if they were interested in forming a team of peer advisors that would be trained to give details and guidance about sexual health to their sisters. Several women came forward to express interest in this peer advisor team.

Attendees like Lydia Miller ‘18 had a positive reaction to the seminar and the information it provided.

“I think that having a contraceptive seminar like we did is so incredibly important, especially on a college campus,” she said. “I don’t think women’s sexual health is something that is discussed nearly enough, and it’s important that women understand that it’s empowering to have control of your body – specifically your sexuality and sexual health. Having this talk felt like something different than some of the things we do on campus in terms of health, and its smaller scale increased its effectiveness. Knowledge about sexual health is important and I don’t think it should hold the stigma in college that it does in high school and middle schools.”

When asked what the takeaway of the sexual health seminar should be, the Connect representatives made it clear that female contraception should be seen as a means of empowerment: “Take your sexual health and your body into your own hands, and know that birth control is about taking control.”

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