At some colleges, Roe’s downfall will weaken student health

What, then, is the best means of protecting activists and humanitarian organizations? In both access-friendly states and those with bans, campus activists are pressuring university administrators to support students: provide flexible attendance policies in case students need care; to establish emergency or travel funds; establish privacy policies that protect students seeking information; and to provide medical abortion. “Now is the time to talk to the authorities at their university — to get the university’s position,” Seeley says.

Tamara Marzuk, director of abortion access at the nonprofit Advocates for Youth, points out that this matters even in many blue states: When campuses in places where abortion is legal provide care for students, it eases the burden on local independents. clinics – clinics feeling the pressure from out-of-state patients.

It’s still too early to tell how these campus campaigns will play out, but “I’m prepared to be surprised by some administrations that we assume are anti-abortion,” Marzuk says. “We’re still mostly in the summer. So we’ll see student activity pick up in the fall. And I think that’s when we’ll really see how administrations respond.”

Students can also vote with their feet. For some universities, a significant portion of the student population comes from out of state: more than 40 percent at the University of Oklahoma and nearly 60 percent at the University of Alabama. Early data show that teenagers applying to college are avoiding schools in states with bans, and a July study by an education journal found that a quarter of high school seniors heading to four-year colleges would only attend where abortion is legal.

URGE’s McGuire says students can also help increase pressure on lawmakers crafting still-evolving state abortion and contraception laws. Some radical bans pass, others don’t.

“We have a majority in every state in this country of people who want abortion to be safe, legal, safe, accessible,” she says. She’s optimistic, suspecting that people underestimate youth political engagement and the history of social justice movements in the South and Midwest: “These are regions of the country that birthed liberation movements.”

Marzouk says there is increased interest among student activists in learning about self-administered abortion, which involves pills approved by the Food and Drug Administration that can be accessed through telehealth appointments and sent by mail — despite legal restrictions on both are still rapidly developing.

“We’ve seen the sharing of self-abortion information grow tremendously over the past few years, and even more so since June,” said Marzouk, who works alongside hundreds of activists across the country. In states with bans, campus activists must follow the same counseling rules as Yellowhammer. Advocates for Youth has had dozens of young people train their peers on how to share the World Health Organization’s guidelines on self-directed abortion in a way that “doesn’t provide any kind of advice that could be construed as medical or legal advice,” she says. For example, like “saying ‘one would do XYZ’ and not using the language of ‘you’.

Most of all, advocates say, it’s important to encourage students not to be afraid to seek information or help. “No matter what, there are so many people in this country who are committed and dedicated to helping you get the abortion care you need,” says McLain of Yellowhammer. “No stigma, no shame, and without it ruining your life.”

Marzouk says he still finds room for optimism despite the draconian restrictions on abortion. “Working with young people gave me so much hope,” she says. “I’ve seen young people remain incredibly creative through what is an incredibly dark time.”

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