Some students want colleges to expand access to abortion pills amid The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, according to the New York Times. Others are pushing back against calls for the expansion.
Medication abortion involves taking two types of pills within the first 10 weeks of pregancy. While some schools like the University of Illinois Chicago already provide the pill, other colleges are hesitant due to the fluctuating landscape of abortion law and complicated politics.
Niharika Rao, a senior at Barnard College in New York, said students are demanding medication abortion.
“College student access to abortion is being stigmatized and politicized,” they said, adding that they felt more optimistic after a meeting with a Barnard health administrator.
Meanwhile Grace Lake, a senior and nursing major at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, mentioned that the overturning of Roe empowered anti-abortion activists on campus, including herself.
“From my point of view, there is no reason at all why there should be any available access for students to be able to end the life of their child, especially if it’s through the school,” said Lake.
In states where abortion laws could become more strict, students are trying to find alternatives. Distributing contraceptives and Plan B on campus has been the back up plan at Michigan State University.
Activists are also hoping abortion doulas can support women taking abortion medication by providing information and emotional support.
“The practical support is really increasing — the rides, the shelter, the funds and all of the different logistical pieces that are needed to make access to abortion care possible,” said Tamara Marzouk, director of abortion access at Advocates for Youth.
But abortion rights advocates need to be just as careful as colleges. Though they are being trained in how to share information about self-managed abortion, they aren’t training people how to do it, she said.
“When we veer into potentially giving medical advice or saying, ‘You should do this or do that,’ that could be construed as medical or legal advice,” said Marzouk, adding, “and that veers into a risky area.”