ANNAPOLIS, Md. (DC News Now) — The University System of Maryland schools will be required to have a reproductive health care plan for students. The plan includes 24-hour access to emergency contraception.
This legislation all started as a school project for a Bowie State University graduate student.
Jakeya Johnson saw something missing on her college campus. When a class project required her to come up with a policy solution to a public problem, she recognized reproductive healthcare access was an issue.
“The school refer them to a place called the healthy teen center, which, for people who don’t have their own cars who rely on public transportation, it was an hour and 40 minutes one way and they are only open until four o’clock,” said Johnson.
“Stuff like plan b, a lot of schools either didn’t offer it or they offer it at prices that were the same as the drugstore which is 50 $60 is a big deal for college students,” she continued.
Johnson reached out to Maryland Senator Ariana Kelly, a reproductive healthcare advocate for help to solve this issue on the state level.
“To help students have the access to reproductive health care that they needed to make sure that students who are choosing to stay in school can stay in schools to students who are not choosing to parent and not fair and it was a wonderful feeling,” said Senator Kelly.
Starting July 1st the universities will be required to put together a reproductive health care plan with referral networks and 24-hour access to emergency contraception.
“I think it’s a big deal. Emergencies don’t happen from nine to five, they can happen anytime,” said Johnson.
Schools like the University of Maryland and Salisbury University currently offer emergency contraception but only during the school’s health center hours. Currently, Salisbury University is awaiting a vending machine to be able to provide 24-hour access to emergency contraception.
The legislation goes into effect on July 1st.