Opinion: Con(dom)undrum

By Julia Cramer | September 6, 2017 9:48pm
Julia Cramer
Media Credit: Brennan Robinson / The Beacon

Hello freshmen, and welcome to University of Portland! You have just been bombarded with a week of orientation material, but something you must know as an emerging adult living away from their parents for the first time is that the school’s policy prevents the distribution of condoms and contraceptives.

The truth is that college students DO have consensual, pre-marital sex. And this is not novel information. University of Portland’s Sociologist professor Martin Monto conducted a study in 2013 to find out whether college students are living in this so-called “hook-up culture.” Although Monto found that students were not having sex more frequently than previous years, he established that around 50% of college students have had multiple sexual partners since the age of 18. 

Another important fact is that a meta-analysis showed that “sexual risk reduction interventions do not inadvertently increase the overall frequency of sexual behavior.” The administration doesn’t want to promote pre-marital sex, but the research shows that handing out condoms doesn’t make sex more or less frequent; it just makes it safer. Through this type of research and human experience, I must press that college students are generally engaging in sexual acts despite this anti-condom and contraceptive policy. So what is the real reason why UP is not teaching students to engage in safe-sex?

University of Portland’s handbook states: “Guided by the teaching of the Catholic Church, the University believes the fullness of sexual intimacy exists only within a marriage.” Although the Church perceives of contraceptives as a gateway to having more casual sex and moving away from the more traditional view of procreation, I believe that all people deserve to have methods of family planning and contraceptives. 

Especially in a time where we are having an environmental crisis, overpopulation, and a lack of economic resources. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden found having one fewer child per family can save “an average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year.” We can drastically reduce unwanted pregnancies with the use of condoms. I am not stating that no one should have children, but having our students be aware and educated about family planning and safe-sex not only helps the student, but it helps the environment. Doesn’t providing family planning and contraceptives to young adults in this day and age protect God’s creation? 

While I respect their religious point of view, I do believe we MUST provide condoms and contraceptives to be safe and healthy. And not to give you all a lecture, but condoms are great! They help prevent diseases, the spread of STDs and pregnancy. So shouldn’t the school provide this contraceptive? 

The school already provides pregnancy and STD testing, but they don’t give out the physical condom that helps prevent these things. They provide for the testing and support of the consequences, so why wouldn’t they want their students to be healthy and engage in safe-sex?