SHAW and SHIC establish reproductive rights task force

Marcy Cassidy-Mapp, Staff Writer

This semester, the student- run Sexual Health Information Center (SHIC) joined Grinnell College’s Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) in working with a new reproductive rights task force on campus. This group, consisting of different members of Grinnell College staff, faculty and administration, will work to develop a comprehensive plan to protect student access to reproductive rights in the potential case of an abortion ban in Iowa.

Chaired by the Dean of Health and Wellness, Terry Mason, the group is presently only in its initial stages. The task force plans to meet with a member of Planned Parenthood to discuss the College’s legally-protected capacity to intervene on behalf of students.

Aris Ace Reyes `25, one of SHIC’s two administrators, works directly with the task force and said he felt optimistic following the task force’s first meeting.

“The task force was created to create an action plan for if Kim Reynolds decides and says that abortion would be illegal in the state of Iowa,” said Reyes. “Grinnell just wants to have a plan in case something’s going to happen, so they’re not being reactive and they’re being proactive.”

The creation of this task force follows other initiatives to support sexual health on campus. SHIC was previously shut down by the College in 2020 due to concerns related to insufficient employee training and supervision. To remedy those concerns, SHAW partnered with SHIC to facilitate the organization’s ability to distribute Plan B to students using College funds.

“We need to make sure that we can minimize risk when we give something like that out to people,” Reyes said. “Now we have informed consent sheets that we give to people, so that they can see what the medication does and what it will do to their body. As long as they agree to that and they know what they’re taking, they can make the best informed decision for themselves.”

The training primarily focused on addressing informed consent and potential side effects. In the event of more serious medical circumstances, Kasey Herbers, Grinnell College’s acting physician’s assistant can prescribe ella, an emergency contraceptive for use three to five days after unprotected sex.

“I think SHIC having plan B will definitely help make students feel safer,” said Madeline Fialkov `25. “It’s important that sexually active people have access to emergency contraception from a trusted, confidential and judgment- free source on campus.”