HAMPTON, Va. — Local Hampton University students Michyah Thomas and Alexandria Brown are working to take control over reproductive health.
Last week Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law an abortion bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison. As the political climate remains heated, Thomas said she's taking back control.
"It's very hard to sit here and be proud that I'm doing work that helps people when I know that rights are being stripped away from people across the country,” said Thomas.
In March, Thomas, a Hampton University student, created a hotline that helps get emergency contraception to students 24/7.
“People just text and say 'I need emergency contraception,' or 'hey do you have any condoms?' or, 'hey I have a question about a pelvic exam.' We can just either get the information they need, or we just give it to them for free,” said Thomas.
If a student is in need of an emergency contraceptive, they message the hotline, which allows Thomas and other volunteers to connect with them. Thomas said she and her volunteers work to help each student.
“We’ve gathered up a group of 12 volunteers that are pretty consistent. We have had students literally leave class to drop someone off at a doctor’s appointment,” said Thomas.
The group provides free emergency contraception, car rides to the student health clinic and support. Thomas said the goal is to get the students the help they need fast.
“Emergency contraception is most effective if taken within the first 72 hours. When students ask, we come running,” said Thomas.
Thomas said the university issued a warning about the program to students.
“Hampton University released a statement to the student body on campus informing them that this program existed and that we are not licensed, medical professionals. That the usage of the product we provide could potentially be harmful,” said Thomas.
Thomas said the product is a need because the clinic isn’t open on the weekends.
“They have an on-call nurse that you can call at night on the weekend, but the on-call nurse is not a physician that can write a prescription,” said Thomas. For now, she just hopes the idea spreads to more colleges and universities across the country.
“I can spread this to as many campuses as I want. Emergency contraception specifically is not just a difficult thing to do at Hampton University, that’s a university issue in general,” said Thomas.