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Barnard College will offer abortion pills for students next year

The decision, a direct response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, was made in case there's "a barrier to access in the future," officials said.
Barnard College of Columbia University.
Barnard College.EQRoy / Alamy file

Barnard College will give students access to abortion pills next year, officials at the private women’s college in New York City announced Thursday.

The move is a direct response to the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion — a momentous break that left states to determine their own stance and prompted more than a dozen states to ban the procedure completely.

The decision to offer abortion pills on campus was made “in the event that there is a barrier to access in the future, for any reason," Barnard Dean Leslie Grinage and Chief Health Officer Dr. Marina Catallozzi said in a statement, adding campus providers will be "prepared and trained in the provision of medication abortion by Fall 2023."  

The school explained that students currently have reproductive health services in New York, but access at the school will be bolstered nonetheless.

"History and research strongly suggest that the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the constitutional right to legal abortion will have serious negative consequences for women’s futures," the school said. "The overturning of Roe v. Wade after 50 years 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." 

Other institutions have announced similar measures to protect abortion access in a post-Roe era.

In California, public state universities will be required to offer abortion pills next year under state legislation signed in 2019.

In Massachusetts, lawmakers approved a bill over the summer requiring public colleges and universities to create medication abortion readiness plans for students that are due in November 2023.

Meanwhile in Idaho, where an abortion ban trigger law went into partial effect on Aug. 25 despite ongoing litigation, University of Idaho warned employees last month not to provide reproductive health counseling including abortion or else they could face losing their jobs or criminal prosecution under the legislation, the Idaho Capital Sun reported.