Women between the ages of 20 to 24 account for 33 percent of all abortions, the largest of any age group, according to the National Abortion Federation. Despite an overall decline in abortions performed in the United States, college-aged women still account for the most abortions when compared to other age groups.
Of the students who responded to Pipe Dream’s sex survey, 16 people said they had had an abortion, while 13 people said their partner had had an abortion.
Although this number might not seem large at first glance, it reveals that Binghamton University students are still having abortions despite not having many options for a place to receive one.
Resources including Decker Student Health Services and Family Planning of South Central New York carry the morning-after pill, which is effective at preventing pregnancy when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, but they do not carry abortion pills.
For BU students who want to get an abortion outside of a hospital, the closest option is Dr. Amy Cousins, who runs an abortion clinic in Vestal.
According to Peg Johnston, the director of Access for Women, the company that runs the clinic, the clinic is completely confidential and available for any woman, regardless of age.
“Abortion in NYS is available regardless of age without the consent of parents or guardians,” Johnston wrote in an email. “The NYS legislature reasoned that if a woman is old enough to have a child, she is old enough to decide not to.”
Whether the abortion is medical — meaning induced with a pill — or surgical, the price range is around $500 without insurance. However, there are programs run through organizations like Family Planning of South Central New York that can help with covering the costs of an abortion. The clinic also has a fund to help women who cannot otherwise afford the procedure.
“We have an abortion fund and cooperate with other funds for those who need it, mostly women from Pennsylvania where Medicaid and other insurance does not cover abortion,” Johnston wrote.
The clinic generally does everything related to the abortion, from free pregnancy testing to performing the abortion itself. She also said that women are usually able to quickly return to normal activities after an abortion.
“Some bleeding and cramps are normal, but most people can return to normal activities the next day,” Johnston wrote. “For two weeks watch for fever, and nothing in the vagina to prevent infection.”
If trends in the United States continue, according to the National Abortion Federation, 35 percent of all women currently of reproductive age will have an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45.
For Johnston, this figure demonstrates how common and how important it is that women have access to abortion.
“We believe that if you cannot control your body, including when and whether to have children, you cannot participate fully in our economic life,” Johnston wrote. “In other words, if there was forced child bearing (no access to abortion) women couldn’t count on finishing school, have careers, hold down good jobs, etc.”