The U.S. Supreme Court’s expected decision to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer will impact a broad swath of Mississippians, particularly college students, who have a high need for reproductive health care.
Women in their 20s make up the majority of Mississippians who seek abortions in the state, according to data from the Mississippi Department of Health and the Guttmacher Institute. While it’s unclear the rate at which Mississippi college students in particular seek out abortions, studies have found that the top reasons students stop going to school are pregnancy, the need to care for family, and insufficient access to child care.
That’s why advocates and public health experts say that colleges and universities should provide students with holistic and inclusive reproductive health care — and, if Roe is outlawed, that access is going to become all the more important.
Mississippi Today surveyed the reproductive health care services and sexual education resources offered at the state’s eight public universities by calling the student health centers and requesting information from media relations. In general, Mississippi’s three largest universities — University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, and University of Southern Mississippi — offer more on-campus reproductive health services than the smaller schools, which typically refer students to nearby clinics for exams.
All eight universities offer free condoms but only one school, Jackson State University, provides students with regular access to free Plan B emergency contraception via appointments.
This list will be updated.
Alcorn State University’s Rowan Hall Health Services Center
Lorman campus: 601-877-6460
The center does not have an on-campus OB-GYN, but does provide testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
Condoms, offered for free, are the only type of birth control available at the center.
Once a student has received an initial dose of Depo-Provera, a form of birth control administered as a shot, the center can administer the second dose if the student brings it to the center.
The center does not offer emergency contraceptives like Plan B but will advise students to seek over-the-counter options available at Walmart in Vicksburg.
Free pregnancy tests are available to students.
The Child Development and Learning Center is available to Alcorn State employees. Fees are assessed on an income-based scale. Alcorn State University did not answer Mississippi Today’s questions if it provides on-campus child care to students.
Delta State University’s O.W. Reily Student Health Services
The nurse practitioner offers basic services like scripts for cough medication but does not provide lab testing or blood work.
The center will recommend students seeking pap smears go to the local health department.
The center does not offer emergency contraceptives like Plan B.
Condoms are offered for free in the center’s resource room.
The center has partnered with a mobile clinic to offer sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing.
Delta State has hosted sexual wellness seminars.
The Hamilton-White Child Development Center is available to students with kids up to five years old. Tuition costs $5,928 and can be paid in 10- and 12-month installments.
Jackson State University’s Student Health Center
The center offers a variety of birth control options, including pills and the Depo-Provera shot, for free to students.
Students can get free Plan B from the center by making an appointment with a nurse practitioner.
Offers free STD testing and treatment, including HIV testing.
Pregnancy tests are available to students without an appointment.
Provides referrals for students seeking prenatal care to local OB-GYN clinics if they do not have access to their own private physicians.
The Lottie W. Thornton Early Child Care Center is available to students, faculty and community members with children ages 3 to 5 years old. Tuition costs $375 a month.
Mississippi State University’s Longest Student Health Center
The center offers free sexual health exams for students.
Free condoms are available in the dorms, and different forms of free birth control are offered at the center.
Free pregnancy tests are available at the health center.
The pharmacy offers over-the-counter Plan B for about $30.
The Health Promotion and Wellness Department offers free STD testing, including free HIV testing.
Tuition for the Child Development and Family Studies Center, which MSU calls “an experiential child study laboratory,” costs $585 per month and is available to infants and kids up to five years old.
Mississippi University for Women’s Campus Health Center
The nurse practitioners do not provide gynecological or urological exams, but they can write prescriptions for birth control.
The nurse practitioners can prescribe Plan B, but rarely do, according to the health center.
Free condoms are available at the center.
The center does not provide services to pregnant people or children under three.
The center offers pregnancy tests for $10.
The Child and Parent Development Center is available to children older than one until they start kindergarten. The center costs about $6,240 for the school year, but MUW students qualify for a 10% discount.
The Delta Health Center at Mississippi Valley State University
The nurse practitioner can do pap smears but will refer students seeking more in-depth care to an OB-GYN in Mound Bayou.
The center can write a prescription for birth control, which students will need to pick up at Walmart or a nearby pharmacy.
If a student brings Depo-Provera, the center can administer it.
The center does not offer Plan B but the emergency contraceptive is occasionally available for free at on-campus health fairs.
Condoms are offered for free.
Free pregnancy tests are provided.
The Child Development Center, operated by Delta Health Alliance, is available to students, faculty and community members with children between 2 and 5 years old. The center is free based on income.
University of Mississippi’s University Health Services
Students can access annual exams, including pap smears and breast exams, but health services cannot implant IUDs.
The center can write prescriptions for birth control, but it is not provided for free.
The center offers urine pregnancy tests for $38 and blood pregnancy tests for $40.
The pharmacy sells Plan B for about $30.
The Willie Price Lab School is available for children between 3 and 5 years old from “university-affiliated families.”
University of Southern Mississippi’s Moffitt Health Center
The Office of Health Promotion offers a free sex education training for instructors who request it.
The health center offers free, walk-in HIV testing. Other forms of STD testing are not offered for free but at a reduced rate that can be billed to insurance.
Free condoms are available in the pharmacy lobby and in patient rooms at the health center
The Center for Child Development is offered for children 8 weeks to 5 years old. Students with children can request financial assistance from the university through a U.S. Department of Education award called the “Child Care Access Means Parents In School” grant.
-- Article credit to Molly Minta of Mississippi Today --