YDSA launching Bodily Autonomy campaign

The Lawrence University chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) is launching a Bodily Autonomy campaign. The campaign focuses on providing free Plan B and an end to deadnaming transgender Lawrentians on databases such as Microsoft Outlook.   

When asked about the objectives of this campaign, YDSA co-chair sophomore Nolan Madrigrano and Harassment and Grievance Officer senior Rowan Tipping shared that preventing deadnaming and finding ways for students to anonymously obtain Plan B are the main issues that the initiative must address. Tipping spoke on the importance of anonymity, noting the importance of being able to preserve anonymity when receiving contraceptives. Tipping said campaign members proposed putting them in the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center and a vending machine in Warch Campus Center.  

“If you’re going to the vending machine, people see you doing it, and it kind of breaks down that purpose, which is allowing for you to make the decision about your body and being able to have it known to people who you want it to be known to, and not known to people that you don’t want it to be known to,” Tipping said.  

There is an inherent lack of anonymity in a vending machine as well as a price for items such as Plan B. Tipping noted that, with the combination of these factors, many YDSA members think that the Wellness Center is a better method of distribution for contraceptives.  

YDSA is introducing the initiative to the General Council. So far, the anti-deadnaming legislation has successfully passed.  

YDSA plans to take steps forward towards their Plan B initiative. Logo provided by James Curry.

“We’ve introduced the anti-deadnaming resolution—that’s already passed in the General Council, two weeks ago now—and just last night we got done straightening out everything with the Plan B resolution, and that’ll be introduced next week at council […] The legislation that they have planned calls upon the university to investigate ways to help mitigate this, and to change the systems where it can avoid the use of deadnames,” said Madrigrano.  

Additionally, they are trying to further the impact of the Plan B resolution by making its availability more widely known among Lawrence students. Madrigrano said that the university has made Plan B available in the past but has not widely advertised it.  

 “The university did get back to us and said that in previous years [they]’ve charged 20 dollars to student accounts for Plan B, but […] every student that we talked to didn’t know that this was a thing that they offered,” Madrigrano said. 

“So, we’ve shifted focus to ensuring that it stays free consistently and that it doesn’t show up on your student account when you do it because if your parents are paying for it, it’s a little bit embarrassing. So ideally the way that we’re working it out is that you would be able to get it through Wellness, just by like walking up the window and asking for it; so that’s the ideal system that we would like to see.”  

Madrigrano and Tipping both encouraged those who are passionate about these issues to do what they can to get involved. They said those who want to further this change should email YDSA, sign the petitions that the organization is handing out, and email LUCC as well as university officials to make their voices heard.  

“It shouldn’t be the decision of the university, it shouldn’t be the decision of the state, it shouldn’t be the decision of the federal government,” Tipping said. “It shouldn’t be the decision of anyone but the individual themselves.”