Iowa State Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance member Abby Hansen told the Des Moines Register that her campus needs access to mifepristone, and students would demand the early abortion pill if they knew more about it. Her comment came on the heels of student health center chief of staff Dr. Marc Shulman’s recent announcement that the campus is “not anywhere near” offering mifepristone to students. Officials at the student health center discussed making the pill available to students soon after its approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in September 2000, but as of early October 2001, no decision has been made, and no prescription for mifepristone has been written through student health services. Shulman claimed that the demand for the drug is not as great as was expected, and indicated that students will have to push for campus availability for the health center to take a more active stance.
A recent bill signed into law by Gov. Tom Vilsak that prohibits universities from using state money to provide mifepristone further exacerbates Iowa’s situation. The bill was introduced shortly after Shulman’s announcement in September 2000 that Iowa State was seriously considering offering access to mifepristone in the student health center. Currently, the University of Northern Iowa does not offer mifepristone or surgical abortions, and does not make referrals for abortions.
The Feminist Majority Foundation launched a national campaign for campus access to mifepristone and emergency contraception. Prescribe Choice will mobilize Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance members and pro-choice activists across the country to educate their peers and push their Universities to provide access to these important reproductive health advances within the student health centers.