The New York State Assembly and Senate have passed bill A01395C/S01213-B, which would require State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) campuses to provide the abortion pill to students. Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to sign the bill into law.
Advocates for Youth, a pro-abortion, pro-contraception organization behind much of the public school sex education in the U.S., praised the passage of the bill in a press release. Niharika Rao, New York Campus Co-Coordinator for Abortion Access with Advocates for Youth and lead organizer with Reproductive Justice Collective was quoted in the press release as saying: “Students worked incredibly hard for this victory for over three years. I’m proud that New York is moving closer to reproductive justice and to abortion access for all.”
Similarly, Reproductive Justice Collective stated on their Instagram: “We are so grateful for the passage of this legislation and the work by allies. We’ve been advocating for access to abortion pills on campus for three years now, and we know this bill reduces barriers to abortion access for students across New York.”
Not everyone is delighted with the bill, however. The New York State Catholic Conference, for example, issued a memorandum of opposition in March, prior to the bill’s passage. “The New York State Catholic Conference strongly opposes this dangerous and misguided bill,” it stated, adding:
Young women attending college are often experiencing true independence for the first time. They are away from family and support systems. The social pressures and availability of harmful substances combine to make campus a wholly inappropriate place to offer dangerous medication to young women, some as young as 17.
Despite claims to the contrary, the abortion pill is not “one of the safest and most effective medications.” The bill’s cavalier approach in providing the pill to college students does nothing to address many potential problems: What about girls who go on to have severe complications alone in their dorm room? What about girls who are on their own for the first time, and pressured by an abusive partner? What about girls who are misdiagnosed or unsure about the timing of their pregnancy? What about girls with ectopic pregnancies, for which the pill could prove fatal?
As with so many bills that expand abortion, the sponsors claim to support women. The lack of safeguards or true consideration for women’s health within this provision would do the opposite. The potential for harm to young women if this bill were to pass is unconscionable.
The move to bring the abortion pill onto New York state university campuses follows the passage of a similar bill in the State of California in 2019, implemented earlier this year.