A Student Idea popped up last week to start selling pregnancy tests in both the Guild Shop and the Marketplace. The vote closes on 20th October, and currently stands with 52.9% in strong support of the idea. Nevertheless, with only 68 votes cast, the question stands as to whether this is the true opinion of the student body.
Personally, I feel like stocking pregnancy tests would be somewhat a waste of time on the part of the shops. Whilst convenience is a factor – a person could easily pick one up along with their milk and meal deal – selling them on campus amplifies the embarrassment that many may feel when purchasing a test. To buy a pregnancy test off a member of your peers working behind the till, and surrounded by those nosy peers in the queue behind you gets rid of the anonymity one might get at the self-checkout in Boots in town. A pregnancy is a personal matter, which does not need to be broadcast to that guy you vaguely know from your seminar.
with only 68 votes cast, the question stands as to whether this is the true opinion of the student body.
On the other hand, one commenter on the Student Idea makes a valid point that perhaps pregnancy tests should be free on campus, as such items are ‘essential’ for university students. In my view, this could be a backhanded comment on the sexual promiscuity of the student body, but I can also see the benefits of this product being free and potentially offered on campus, aside from in the Student Health Centre. The Centre itself, I have been informed, is relatively helpful in supporting and guiding those who do become pregnant, but on-campus free tests would help check before an appointment was even made or needed.
A pregnancy is a personal matter,
Furthermore, myself and various friends have used both the Student Health Centre and
the Walk-in Centre on Sidwell Street for a myriad of sexual health reasons. The most common use of both, it seems, is to acquire the ‘morning after pill’. Both centres have relatively long waiting times, which obviously varies day to day. Reporting from others’ experiences: The Student Health Centre’s Walk-in Clinic takes a lot longer, with students sitting there for up to two hours. On this my friend commented: ‘When you’re waiting for something like that, you really don’t want to be waiting long’. Similarly, the Student Health Centre does not offer a sexual health screening, which the Walk-in Centre does easily and efficiently. In terms of contraception, a regular prescription of the pill requires a GP at the Student Health Centre, thus they are more helpful on that note. Nevertheless, in contrast to GPs back home, my appointments seem rushed and few questions are asked, along with only a vague mention offering differing forms of contraception. Perhaps an idea would be to have one nurse available throughout the day to specifically tackle sexual health and contraceptive issues, meaning those waiting for emergency contraception are not left worrying for so long. On most bases, it seems that the Walk-in Centre trumps the Student Health Centre.
Overall, whilst I can see the arguments for having pregnancy tests somewhere on campus, I do not feel that the Guild Shop and the Marketplace are right places to stock them.
Perhaps I am basing this off an imagined stigma that needs to be removed regarding student pregnancies – a women shouldn’t be embarrassed to purchase a pregnancy test, just as she shouldn’t be to buy tampons. The topic of pregnancy nonetheless remains a taboo that needs to be tackled first and foremost, until which time the Student Idea is ultimately moot.