More Campuses Are Requiring Access to Abortion Pill: ‘Women Are Being Exploited’
Since the 2022 Dobbs Supreme Court decision, several colleges across the U.S. have been looking for ways to provide abortion access for students. Before Roe v. Wade was even overturned, California became the first state in 2019 to enact a law that required public universities to provide students with the abortion pill. Massachusetts passed a similar law in 2022. And in New York, laws requiring students to have access to these drugs through their campuses passed in May and went into effect in August — just weeks before students resumed their studies.
Empire State Governor Kathy Hochul (D) passed the law in May and said it was the difference between “an unwanted pregnancy and a future where [students] can decide what they want to do.” According to Hochul, “[Abortion] is what matters to college aged students.” However, this law has raised significant concerns among pro-life advocates.
Michele Sterlace, executive director of Feminists for Life, has spoken out against the policy. One of her frustrations is that it does not require ultrasounds for patients considering abortions, nor are abortion businesses required to inform the women about the risks involved. Moreover, the easy access of abortion pills for students has raised fears that it could lead to an increase in sexual abuse or trafficking. “New York has the most regressive abortion laws in the world,” Sterlace said.
Although the law passed by Hochul was directed at New York’s public universities, Barnard College, a private women’s liberal arts college, has announced plans to provide abortion drugs. Originally, this was set to go into effect in fall of 2023 but has since been postponed to spring of next year. Despite the delay, Barnard is committed to providing access to abortion for their students. Dr. Marina Catallozzi, vice president for Health and Wellness and chief health officer at Barnard College, said, “[T]he idea is that, because it’s on-campus, they immediately can determine whether or not this is a choice they want to make.”
Although New York is only the third state to enact these laws, abortion activists are pushing for campus abortion access to increase, with many students claiming that even these new university policies are “no longer good enough.” According to The New York Times, “The biggest thing on many of their wish lists [is] medication to end an unwanted pregnancy.”
In response to this development, Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, commented to The Washington Stand, “Incidents of states passing laws requiring public universities to deal the abortion drug are further evidence that Title IX has failed.” She discussed how the difference between men and women is a topic ignored by many college campuses. “Instead of public universities becoming places where women are respected and treated with the same dignity as men — some states have allowed college campuses to simply expect women to be the same as men,” she added.
Because of this, women are being exploited, Szoch continued, “specifically regarding a woman’s capacity to be a mother.” “These state laws tell women, ‘You are welcome on our college campus as long as you are willing to kill any unborn child who gets in the way of your body functioning as a man’s.’ Instead of leading to equality, these laws will lead to more discrimination against women both on college campuses and later in the workplace. College or kids — that is the dichotomy these laws create.”
She concluded, “Anyone who believes mothers make valuable, unique contributions to society should oppose these laws.”
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.