In the two months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, the decision has been countered by a wave of fierce activism in attempt to protect the right to safe and legal abortion amid nationwide medical emergencies, fear and confusion. The decision has lost 20.9 million women access to nearly all forms of abortion in their home states — currently, 12 states have a full or near-full abortion ban in effect and two states, Ohio and Georgia, have six-week bans in place. Abortion bans in many states were met by protests and lawsuits, and advocates pleaded for courts to grant temporary injunctions to allow abortions in the near future to continue. Pressure from opposing slides has resulted in inconsistency in the law in many states — in Utah, over the course of five days, abortion law drastically shifted three times over.
Abortion bans have not directly affected those living in New York, as the right to abortion has been codified in New York State law since 2019 — having been legal in the state since 1970. However, as residents of a state that has protected this fundamental right, we should continue to advocate for those across the country whose right to abortion has been jeopardized.
At Binghamton University, in response to the initial Supreme Court leak on Roe v. Wade last May, the Multicultural and Political Action Student Organizations hosted events that aimed to open discussion and educate students about their abortion rights. Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, local organizations and Broome County community members teamed together to protest outside of Binghamton’s Federal Building. We commend the work of student organizations and the Broome County community, and we encourage the University to put more effort into continuing to foster conversation about the landmark case and its implications, and continue to remind students of the sexual and reproductive health resources available to them on- and off-campus.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade has significant implications for young people and college students, in particular. Women between the ages of 20 and 29 make up 57 percent of the population that obtains legal abortions. Decades-old laws in 36 states requiring parental involvement in the decision to have an abortion have long been barriers to abortion for young people, but have been worked around by “judicial bypass,” an option eliminated in states that have banned abortion. Due to abortion bans in various states, many students will return to universities that have depleted reproductive health resources and abortion support. College students already face significant barriers to abortion, like a lack of transportation or even busy schedules that make traveling to another state for an abortion extremely difficult. Additionally, as stated in The Hechinger Report, “students from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups, students who are undocumented and low-income students would be hurt disproportionately by reduced abortion access” — thus less likely to have access to the financial resources needed to obtain an abortion. Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are also disproportionately impacted by nationwide abortion bans, as three fourths of HBCUs are located in states that have restricted access to abortion.
In addition to limited resources in universities, abortion bans may impact where students decide to attend school. A study from this August found that 43 percent of undergraduate students have said that the ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade affects their decision to stay in the state where they attend school. Additionally, 44 percent of obstetrics and gynecology residents in medical universities are in states where abortion training is predicted to be restricted, which means that our next generation of healthcare practitioners is already preparing to enter a country of restricted and banned access to abortion.
The Pipe Dream Editorial Board continues to support the right of students and all people to obtain safe and legal abortions, as well as other sexual and reproductive health resources. Pipe Dream has published a list of on- and off-campus health centers where BU students can obtain sexual and reproductive health resources, which includes the Decker Student Health Services Center, Health Promotion and Prevention Services (HPPS) and Rainbow Pride Union (RPU) on-campus, as well as Southern Tier Women’s Health Services and Family Planning of South Central New York Binghamton off-campus. Those interested can also find information about Binghamton University’s newly founded Pro-Choice Coalition on their Instagram, @bingprochoice.