On Sept. 1, Texas’ newest abortion ban went into effect, officially banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, before most women know they are pregnant, NPR reported.
The law also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who helps someone obtain an abortion. There are no exceptions for cases involving rape or incest.
These restrictions have a direct effect on college students, as 60 percent of abortion patients are women in their 20s, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that studies trends in abortion services. In the aftermath of Texas’ decision, we must come together to fight for the abortion rights of college students.
Although abortion up to 24 weeks is still legal in Pennsylvania, our Republican senators, including State Sen. Doug Mastriano and State Sen. Stephanie Borowicz pose a threat to abortion rights. Students must help by protesting, calling their state legislators and donating to programs, like the National Network of Abortion funds, that offer resources for those seeking abortions.
Those creating these laws are hypocritical as they use the phrase “my body my choice” to prohibit mask mandates even though it may jeopardize the health of others, said Lauren Berry, a junior English major.
“It’s just not about life, it’s about controlling women,” Berry said.
Students can help by educating each other about what self-managed abortions are, using abortion pills, in order to distance self-managed abortions from the mental image of coat hangers, said Jess Newman, an anthropolgy professor.
Learning about Texas’ law was frightening, said Elizabeth Alvarez, a religion professor.
“I was horrified, especially about deputizing everyday citizens to profit off of their neighbor’s private medical choices,” Alvarez said.
Pregnancies can disrupt a student’s college experience, said Jediael Peterson, a senior global studies and anthropology major.
“It’s really hard to have a baby and manage college at the same time,” Peterson said.
Parenting students may have to work in addition to getting their college degree to take care of their child, according to Unplanned Pregnancy.
The average cost of having a baby in the United States is $10,808, according to Business Insider.
Among parenting students, 70 percent experience basic needs insecurity, amd are more likely to report poor physical health, depression and higher stress, according to a March 2021 report from The Hope Center.
Some of the widespread misinformation surrounding abortions include abortions prevent people from having children later on and abortions through the pill are not medically safe for women, according to NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, an organization that advocates the right to abortion.
“There was intentional propaganda and misinformation about embryonic and fetal development and about the history of various theologies that led to centering abortion as this issue to rally a lot of people together,” Alvarez said.
Texas’ new restrictions functionally overturned Roe v. Wade, and there is now a strong possibility of overturning it nationally, PBS reported. Roe v. Wade is a U.S. Supreme Court decision from 1973 that protects the liberty of choosing to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. It challenged a Texas statute that criminalized abortions unless the person’s life was at stake.
By deciding not to block Texas’ new abortion restrictions, the U.S. Supreme Court showed they will not protect people getting abortions or their doctors.
On Sept. 9, the U.S. Justice Department sued the state of Texas, claiming Texas enacted the abortion restriction in defiance of the Constitution, NPR reported.
Now more than ever, everyone must fight for the right to abortions for all college students.
“It’s just a way for people to attack women, to attack their bodily autonomy,” Berry said. “We’ve been trying so hard to break this cycle of control.”