Berkeley universities

Campuses have become a battleground against abortion

Birth control pills lie on a counter in Centerville, Maryland, U.S., July 6, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

US colleges have become the new battleground over access to abortion services as schools ask women to provide medication for abortions as abortion advocates resist calls for the pills to be distributed on the campuses.

Both sides dispute ground that opened up following the Supreme Court’s June reversal of Roe v. Wade who had provided for a constitutional right to abortion.

Colleges and universities across the United States often offer a range of sexual and reproductive health services to students, including screening for sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and insurance to cover abortion.

But most do not offer abortion or medical abortion directly to students. They will, however, offer counseling and connect students to reproductive health services.

Abortion advocates say women should not have access to abortion pills on campus, despite women in their 20s accounting for 57% of all medical abortions in the United States in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Carol Tobias, chair of the National Committee for the Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization, told China Daily: “The abortion industry refuses to give women full information about possible complications, so no Abortion pills should not be given to unsuspecting young women on college campuses. »

Medical abortion is an abortion performed with pills that a woman can take at home alone without the help of a doctor. However, some 19 states have laws requiring a medical clinician to be present when she takes the drug.

To make abortion pills work, two drugs are needed. Mifepristone is the first; it works by blocking the hormone progesterone, necessary for a successful pregnancy. The second pill, misoprostol, is taken one to two days later and empties the uterus. Misoprostol alone can be used if mifepristone is not available.

College actions

A handful of colleges, including the University of Illinois at Chicago, provide abortion pills to students. In Massachusetts, where abortion is legal, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst will begin offering abortion pills in the fall.

In California, law requires all public universities in the state to begin offering medical abortions at their on-campus health centers by January 2023. The University of California, Berkeley campus already provides the abortion pill .

Students at Barnard College and Columbia University in New York, a state where abortion is legal, recently called for medical abortion to be available through the university’s health department.

However, a Columbia spokesperson told students: “Private doctor’s offices are generally less crowded, have shorter wait times, offer more privacy and feel more personal. Clinics or organizations at nonprofits such as Planned Parenthood can allow for greater anonymity.”

In the United States, abortion pills are widely available by prescription from a doctor or from an online pharmacy. Elisa Wells, co-founder of Plan C, told China Daily: “[The] the pills are extremely safe, and[a woman] can safely self-manage a home abortion.”

However, several Republican-led states want to restrict access to abortion pills.

This could create an uncertain road for universities that wish to offer them but may be restricted by state law. It will also impose limits on publicly funded colleges and smaller colleges without on-campus health centers.

To protect medical abortion, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on July 8 expanding access to abortion pills. But critics say that’s not enough.