At Some Colleges, the Fall of Roe Will Weaken Student Health Care

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So what is the best resource for activists and aid organizations? In both easy-access states and those with bans, campus activists are pressing college administrators to support students: to ensure flexible attendance policies should students need care; establish emergency or travel funds; establish confidentiality policies that protect students seeking information; and provide medication abortion. “Now is the time to talk to the powers that be at your university, to understand the university’s position,” Sealy says.

Tamara Marzouk, director of abortion access at the nonprofit Advocates for Youth, notes that this matters even in deep blue states — when campuses in places where abortion is legal offer care to students , will ease the burden on local independent clinics, clinics that feel the pressure of out-of-state patients.

It’s too early to tell how these campaigns will fare on campus, but “I’m willing to be surprised by some administrations that we assume are anti-abortion,” Marzouk says. “We’re still mostly in the summer. So we’ll see student activism pick up in the fall. And I think that’s when we’ll really see how the administrations respond.”

Students can also vote with their feet. For some universities, a significant portion of the student population comes from out of state: more than 40% at the University of Oklahoma and nearly 60% at the University of Alabama. Early data show that teenage college applicants are avoiding schools in states with bans, and a July survey by an education journal showed that a quarter of high school students heading to four-year colleges years would only attend where abortion is legal.

URGE’s McGuire says students can also help increase pressure on lawmakers who are crafting evolving state laws on abortion and contraception. Some radical bans are happening, others are not.

“We have majorities in every state in this country of people who want abortion to be safe, legal, protected and accessible,” he says. He is optimistic, suspecting that people underestimate the political engagement of young people and the history of social justice movements in the South and Midwest: “These are regions of the country that have given rise to liberation movements.”

Marzouk says there has been a growing interest among student activists to learn about self-administered abortion, which includes pills approved by the Food and Drug Administration that can be accessed through telehealth appointments and mailed, all and that the legal limits of both are still fast. evolving

“We’ve seen the sharing of information about self-abortion increase tremendously over the past few years, and even more so since June,” says Marzouk, who works alongside hundreds of activists across the country. In states with bans, campus activists must follow the same advisory rules as Yellowhammer. Advocates for Youth has had dozens of young people teach their peers how to share the World Health Organization’s guidelines on self-administered abortion in a way that “does not offer any kind of advice that could be interpreted as medical advice or legal,” he says. . For example, like “saying ‘a person would do XYZ’ and not using ‘you’ language”.

And above all, advocates say, it’s important to encourage students not to be afraid to seek information or help. “No matter what, there are so many people in this country who are committed and dedicated to helping you get the abortion care you need,” says Yellowhammer’s McLain. “Without stigma, without shame and without it ruining your life.”

Marzouk says she still finds room for optimism, despite the draconian restrictions on abortion. “Working alongside young people has given me a lot of hope,” he says. “I’ve seen young people stay incredibly creative in an incredibly dark time.”

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