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Free Condoms Delivered To DePaul Students Through New Student Group

By Ted Cox | October 5, 2017 5:50am | Updated on October 6, 2017 8:55am
 DePaul students affiliated with Students for Reproductive Justice prepare to distribute condoms outside the Student Center.
DePaul students affiliated with Students for Reproductive Justice prepare to distribute condoms outside the Student Center.
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Students for Reproductive Justice

DEPAUL — DePaul University students in urgent need on a Friday night can get birth control delivered to their door.

For now, at least.

Students for Reproductive Justice is an unofficial university group that has brought a condom distribution system called Text Jane to the campus from Loyola University on the North Shore, where it started last school year.

Students can Text Jane at 773-609-0615 between 6-11 p.m. Friday and have an array of birth control delivered to their door, including pregnancy tests.

The group also has been distributing condoms outside DePaul's student center, at 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., on Wednesday mornings.

"It's not just us handing out condoms. We're really trying to make an impact on our community," said Sophie, one of the group's four core organizers, who asked that her last name be withheld out of a sense of caution and fear of reprisals from the nation's largest Catholic university.

"Nobody wants to get kicked out," she said. "You just don't want to get in trouble."

So far, they've been operating in plain sight.

"They've definitely seen it. They know we exist, especially as we do hand out condoms every Wednesday morning. Professors are walking around. They know what going on.

"The professors I've talked to have been very supportive," Sophie added, "but I don't know what the administration thinks."

DePaul did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to Sophie, "We have been getting a lot more response, which is awesome," especially after an article on the group ran this week in the DePaulia student newspaper and online.

She said they typically make several deliveries on a Friday — with the group members sharing shifts — and give out dozens of condoms on Wednesdays.

The Loyola founder of Text Jane passed along condoms after leaving the university, and they've also obtained them from the Howard Brown Health Center in Buena Park, as well as Bedsider.org.

Loyola students, however, made clear that Students for Reproductive Justice remains active on their North Shore campus.

 Students for Reproductive Justice members after distributing condoms outside the DePaul Student Center Wednesday.
Students for Reproductive Justice members after distributing condoms outside the DePaul Student Center Wednesday.
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Students for Reproductive Justice

At DePaul, they consider their mission more than just providing college kids with birth control.

According to Sophie, they were planning actions on the abortion rights bill that cleared the General Assembly this year when they expected Gov. Bruce Rauner to veto it. Rauner shifted his position and signed it this week.

"No need to now," Sophie said. "That's checked off the list."

But they're monitoring a measure that cleared the U.S. House this week to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, as it now heads to the U.S. Senate. And they're watching President Donald Trump on a range of issues.

"I think the current administration is really hell-bent on stripping away rights from women," Sophie said.

They also plan to organize student meetings and information sessions on reproductive rights and other issues relating to sex. All of which could potentially land the group in hot water should the Catholic university founded by the order of St. Vincent de Paul make an issue of it.

"I personally want to be cautious," Sophie said. "At Loyola, it did not go over too well. But DePaul's a very different environment from Loyola.

"I personally think — and I think everybody in our group does too — that this is actually a very Vincentian act. The whole DePaul Vincentian motto is, 'Do what must be done.' And this is doing what must be done."