Make new option available

NIU should follow the lead of other universities nationwide and offer a new form of birth control.

Both Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University offer Depo-Provera, a hormone that when injected into women eliminates the chances of the egg being fertilized.

Rosemary Lane, director of University Health Services, says her office is considering offering the hormone but is concerned with its potential side effects. These side effects include irregular menstrual bleeding, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, psychological depression and weight gain. However, other forms of birth control that NIU offers, such as the pill, also can cause these side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Depo-Provera in 1991. It is 99 percent effective, does not contain estrogen and does not need to be administered as frequently as other drugs.

According to Lane, however, the use of Depo-Provera is not suited for NIU because it is “more beneficial in an area where regimented birth-control is not used, an area where it is difficult to work with population control.” This is probably a true statement, but Lane should not take away the choice of using Depo-Provera from the students based on her own personal opinion. As long as the hormone was deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration, it must be made available to the population. All the office can do is inform students of the potential side effects and allow them to decide for themselves whether or not they want to use it.

NIU cannot escape the problem of the continuing increase in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. It can help solve this problem by following the lead of the Food and Drug Administration. And that means offering Depo-Provera.