Barnard College says it will start offering abortion pills on campus next year, citing the “negative consequences for women’s futures” of the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade.
The high court’s June ruling “will likely decrease college accessibility, result in lower graduation rates, and derail employment trajectories,” officials at the private women’s college in New York City said in an email sent out to the campus on Thursday.
While abortion rights remain unchanged in New York, Barnard is “preparing in the event that there is a barrier to access in the future, for any reason,” they said. The college plans to ensure its campus providers are ready and trained to offer medication abortion by fall 2023, they added.
Barnard’s decision is the latest salvo in the fight over abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down the right to the procedure after it had been legal across the nation for 50 years. Economic research has found that women who are denied abortions are more likely to suffer from financial problems and rely on government aid programs like food stamps and welfare.
Massachusetts lawmakers in July approved a bill that requires public colleges and universities in the state to craft plans by November 2023 to ensure students have access to abortion pills. A like law enacted by California in 2019 stipulates the same for the state’s public colleges and universities by January.
These moves coincide with steps to curtail reproductive health services on campuses by colleges in states that ban or restrict abortion.
The University of Idaho last month told employees they could not counsel students about abortion or refer them elsewhere, due to the state’s banning nearly all abortions as of August.
Medication abortion usually involves taking two drugs, mifepristone to block a hormone needed for pregnancy development, and misoprostol to start contractions and expel tissue. The Food and Drug Administration, which in 2016 approved the use of mifepristone to end early pregnancy, mandates that it be given by certified providers, but the pills can be taken at home or other locations.
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