Barnard College, a private women's school affiliated with Columbia University, is making medication abortions available to its students, saying that providing the service is part of its plans to expand healthcare options.
The Manhattan-based school said in a statement Thursday that it will ensure campus health providers are prepared and trained by fall 2023 to offer the procedure, and noted the concerns that came after the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this year, reports The Hill.
Medication abortions consist of a woman taking two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol to end a pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drugs for use in the United States in 2000.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy and research group, medication abortion was used in 54% of all U.S. abortions in the year 2020.
Barnard said in its statement that offering abortions on campus will allow it to apply a gender-affirming framework and reproductive justice to all of its student health and well-being offerings.
New York, Barnard's home state, maintains open access to abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and even after that, abortion is still legal if the pregnancy is considered a risk. Abortions are also allowed for people coming in from outside the state, including both medication and in-clinic procedures.
Marina Catallozzi, vice president of health and wellness and chief health officer at Barnard, said that with the court eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, it will "likely decrease college accessibility, result in lower graduation rates, and derail employment trajectories."
"It is expected that people of color and those with limited incomes will be disproportionately harmed," she added.
Barnard is joining California State University and the University of California in offering medication abortion to students.
A California law, the College Student Right to Access Act, requires the two universities to offer non-surgical, or medication abortions, for students by January 2023.
According to an estimate from the University of California San Francisco, 36% of abortions in the United States take place at nonspecialized clinics, so college student health centers can represent a primary care site that can offer the procedures.
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