Reaction To U.T. Tyler Health Clinic Distributing Free Condoms - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/17/07- Tyler

Reaction To U.T. Tyler Health Clinic Distributing Free Condoms

The President of the University of Texas responds to a story about free condoms distributed to student patients at U.T. Tyler. President Rod Mabry states: "The policy of U.T. Tyler has always been not to distribute condoms or anything else that might appear to our students to condone or promote casual sex.... "Health Center personnel decided to have condoms available as part of an information program for the public as well as students."

Both U.T. Health Center and U.T. Tyler respond to a call for public debate and awareness.

"I can assure you there are a lot of parents whose kids are going there that would probably not be happy about what they're doing and that's why I think it deserves public debate," said Senator Kevin Eltife.

The fact that free condoms are available to student patients struck many nerves, both off and on U.T. Tyler's campus.

"I went to the health clinic when I was sick and saw they had condoms available," said U.T. Tyler student Beayonka Asqew.  "I'm pretty sure if I asked or needed any condoms they would give them to me and I think that's pretty helpful. It's better to be safe than sorry."

"I don't think it's a good idea cause it allows students to have sex pretty elicitly without much consequences," said U.T. Tyler student Austin Neel. "It's good that they're having a free service, but I don't agree with the service itself."

Whether you're for or against it, some, including a State Senator want to know how a state-run health facility can make a decision without the public or legislature's approval. In response, U.T. Health Center says it's a decision strictly between a physician and patient.

"We're a state-run institution and come under the state but we provide medical care," said David Coultas, M.D., U.T. Health Center Physician-In-Chief.  "Patients come to us with problems and our job is to provide the best and most appropriate medical care. Only physicians can do that and not policy or public policy, in terms of the appropriate medical care."

U.T. Health Center also issued a statement saying in part:  "We welcome the opportunity for discussion on this issue, and respect Senator Eltife's call for public debate."

Courtney Lane, Reporting clane@kltv.com 

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