Abortion Bans Are Limiting Where I Can Go to College

In this op-ed, high school student and youth advocate for Peer Health Exchange Wendy Marroquin explores why they feel limited in where they can attend college because of abortion bans.

In August I became a high school senior, and, for me and my classmates, college admissions instantly became a big priority. Just a few months ago, it seemed I had the whole world open to me, but after Roe v. Wade was overturned and abortion was subsequently fully banned in 14 states and severely restricted in others, I’m now much more limited.

As a biological female and a nonbinary Latinx person, I only feel safe applying to schools in the states that are favorable to my reproductive parts.

Health and safety is a basic human right, but what do you do when a school you’re considering is in a state that doesn’t seem to recognize either? It’s not just a reality for myself, but for anyone in the country with reproductive organs — particularly for young people traveling to new places and living on their own for the first time.

When I think about schools across the country as a first generation college student, there are obvious “safe” ones in cities where abortion is accessible, like New York University, the University of California Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and Northwestern University. These are great options, but still I feel limited. If I were to go to a school in many places in the South or Midwest and needed an abortion, I would likely not be able to receive one. As a result, schools that I’d been seriously considering and excited about, like Tulane University in Louisiana, are now no longer on my list.

I’m not alone: in an August survey from BestColleges.com, 39% of those polled who were planning on enrolling in undergraduate programs in the next 12 months said Roe v. Wade’s reversal would impact their decision on where they attend college, and 43% of undergraduates already in college said the decision will influence whether they continue to attend school in the same state. These are life-altering decisions.

Beyond state laws restricting abortion, many colleges in those states haven’t sent formal communications about whether they’d help students travel to access abortion should they need it. According to an investigation by The Meteor, only five of the 61 schools in states hostile to abortion that they polled said they might help students access abortion, pointing to emergency or “Student Success” funds that could be used to help pay for abortion related travel. Others either didn’t answer, or said they wouldn’t help students. While privileged students will likely always be able to access abortion, others who don’t have the financial means to travel out of state and pay for an abortion will likely be unable to get one, then left to deal with [pregnancy and birth as a student](https://www.teenvogue.com/story/cradle-to-college-part-2#:~:text=Cradle to College is a,who “average” students are.).

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