On Division Street in Stevens Point, there are two family planning facilities that are dramatically different in the services they provide.
Delzell Hall on campus offers family planning services as well, but for varying reasons, Delzell is not always the go-to choice for family planning services.
Delzell’s services are also only accessible to those currently enrolled at the university.
The first of the two off-campus family planning facilities is Family Planning Health Services, Inc., or fphs, a non-profit reproductive health clinic that provides low-cost services to both men and women.
This non-profit provides a variety of medical services including regular exams of the pelvis and breast, cervical cancer screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
Family Planning Health Services also provides patients with educational information. The facility
does not offer abortion services but does make sure patients know about their options.
The waiting room is a little run-down, but still maintains a professional atmosphere with a similar appearance to a doctor’s office. A container full of condoms and instructions on how to use one correctly sits on the check-in counter.
Pregnancy tests are not administered when trained medical professionals are not present.
The other pregnancy center on Division Street is First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center. This center is also a non-profit but has a dramatically different goal.
With Christian radio playing in the waiting room, this faith-based pregnancy center is staffed almost entirely by volunteers that are not trained or certified by the state. There is one trained nurse on staff.
The center offers free pregnancy tests, but if the nurse on staff is not present at the time of a visit, the patient is given an at-home urine stick test and the patient is asked to read the results herself.
To get to the bathroom where the urine sample is obtained, the patient is directed to walk through the room with an ultrasound machine in it, and back through that room on the way out.
The rooms in which the test is formally given is more like a living room than a clinic, with a couch and small television with a DVD player.
Prior to knowing the results of the urine test, the volunteer asks the patient personal questions about who the father of the child is, whether they are “in the picture” and how the patient feels about parenting at this time in their lives.
Although not a state-supported medical center, the questions asked are all personal and are asked before the results of the test are read.
First Choice pushes religion and pro-life sentiments subtly, yet clearly, on the women that go there looking for help in a time of high stress.
First Choice has also supported pro-life events on the UWSP campus and is associated with the pro-life student organization, Pointers For Life.
Other crisis pregnancy centers that are similar to First Choice exist across the country, in every state. They are typically placed strategically near college campuses and in low-income neighborhoods.
Jen Sorenson, director of Student Health Services, said, “In all of our medical care, whether it is about pregnancy or not, it is a medical professional’s ethical role to provide all options for whatever that medical condition is.”
Sorensen stressed that it is not necessary for students to seek help off-campus for pregnancy tests, as Student Health Services provides them for free.
As college students are often undecided about how to proceed with an unplanned pregnancy, Sorensen said making sure to fully educate a patient is very important.
Delzell Hall screens their physicians prior to hiring them to ensure they are capable of providing unbiased options and education to patients. They facilitate the decisions made by the patient about their own health, making sure all options are well-known, as is the responsibility of all healthcare providers.
It is important students to know about the resources available to them and the services they will receive.