The Maneater

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Mizzou works to make contraceptives available, improve sex ed

The newly formed organization has been collecting signatures since September for its Plan B petition, which focuses on the emergency contraceptives effort.

The executive board for the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Mizzou. Courtesy of Facebook via Planned Parenthood Advocates of Mizzou

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Mizzou is preparing for its Plan B petition, which focuses on the importance of having emergency contraceptives available to all students on campus. The organization has been collecting signatures for the petition since September, following a conference in Detroit.

“We took a couple people to a conference in Detroit over the summer and they strategized this campaign to get free emergency contraception for all students,” Audrey Aton, PPAM president, said. “When we got back, we sat down and wrote the petition.”

Outside of its petition efforts, PPAM organized multiple events and fundraisers, the most recent being its “Better Late Than Never” seminar, which informed students about on-campus sexual education.

“[People said that they] didn’t receive [sexual education] in high school or anywhere else so we knew it was going to have to be an intro to sexual education series,” Colleen Lee, PPAM treasurer, said.

Only 24 states require sex education in public schools, which was part of the reason for the event. Missouri legislature attempted to pass a bill mandating sexual education, but it failed to pass.

“We started out with certain laws [regarding] how in the state of Missouri, sexual education is not required,” Lee said. “After that, we had the audience craft what their ideal and comprehensive sexual education would look like. In the rest of our series, we’re going to try and go down that list [and talk about them].”

While there was some technical trouble acquiring a room to hold the event and figuring out how to format the discussion, overall everything turned out satisfactory.

“We had a bunch of people power so delegation wasn’t a hard thing. I think the event was super beneficial,” Lee said.

The response to the discussion was overwhelmingly positive.

“We did evaluations, both before and after,” Lee said. “We had a scale of not satisfied to very satisfied and it all came back satisfied and the survey was anonymous, so it was nice to be able to quantify it. We had a really good reception for the first event and obviously, we hope that attendance grows.”

Looking forward, the club’s sexual education series is something the members want to do more frequently.

PPAM is hoping to host one or two of the seminars every month following its first installment, Aton said.

Some of the club’s more long-term goals for this year include talking to Missouri representatives and organizing their annual fundraiser.

“We’re planning on working with representatives in Missouri to try and tackle the Pink Tax, which is the tax on menstrual hygiene products, while also preparing for our annual fundraiser that we hold in the Spring,” Aton added.

Edited by Caitlyn Rosen | crosen@themaneater.com

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