Jessica Henry
Student Writer

The SGA Civil Discourse Series is “designed to provide a space for students to engage with some of the most controversial topics in the national conversation.” The first installment of the series took place in November with the topic of gun control. The second installment of the series happened on Tuesday night. This time students had the opportunity to discuss another hot topic: birth control.

“As a part of Minds Matter leadership, we approach difficult conversations daily,” senior biochemistry major and President of Minds Matter Kelly Striker said. “The civil discourse series approaches topics we like to avoid and encourages us to reflect upon our own beliefs as well as hear the voices of others.”

Hannah McBride, program coordinator for the OVW Grant and advisor for SAGE Events, opened the conversation by clarifying that, while there are many forms of birth control, for the purpose of the conversation, the term birth control meant the pill. She also said that over ten million women in the United States have prescriptions for and use the pill.

Students with various viewpoints shared their opinions on topics including constitutional arguments for and against birth control, moral and religious arguments, male versus female birth control and other benefits of birth control besides preventing pregnancy.

“It’s comforting to know that women have a myriad of options for safe and effective birth control, yet disquieting that some people would choose to take that away,” senior public relations major Megan Hess said. “That’s one reason I’m a proponent of establishing more male birth control options—maybe if it was more of a universally shared burden between the two dominant genders, legislators would be less likely to attack the concept and practice.”

A variety of people weighed in and spoke passionately about the topics.

“I was glad to see different perspectives offered, and I appreciated the few alternate opinions that entered the conversation to clarify other practical arguments that were getting lost in the discussion—such as renaming or labeling birth control medication, offering access as a societal and economic measure of support, and considering the assumption of women’s primary identity as child-bearers,” McBride said.

SGA is planning to host more events in the Civil Discourse Series throughout the rest of the semester.