So what is the best tool for activists and aid organizations? In both access-friendly states and those with bans, campus activists are pressing university administrators to support students: provide flexible attendance policies in case students seek care; to raise emergency or travel funds; establish confidentiality policies that protect students requesting information; and to provide abortion drugs. “Now is the time to talk to the powers that be at their university — to understand the university’s position,” Sealy says.
Tamara Marzouk, director of abortion access at the nonprofit Advocates for Youth, points out that this matters even in very blue states: When campuses in countries where abortion is legal offer care to students, it eases the burden on local independent clinics — the clinics who feel pressure from overseas patients.
It’s still too early to tell how these campus campaigns will fare, but “I’m ready to be surprised by some administrations that we assume are anti-abortion,” Marzouk says. “We’re still mostly in the summer. So we will see increased student activism in the fall. And I think that’s when we’ll really see how administrations respond.”
Students can also vote with their feet. For some universities, a significant portion of the student population comes from out of state: more than 40 percent at the University of Oklahoma and nearly 60 percent at the University of Alabama. Early data shows that teenagers applying to college are avoiding schools in states with bans, and a July study by an education journal showed that a quarter of high school students going to four-year colleges will attended only where abortion is legal.
URGE’s McGuire says students can also help increase pressure on lawmakers who are drafting still-developing state laws on abortion and contraception. Some radical bans are passing, others are not.
“We have a majority in every state in this country of people who want abortion to be safe, legal, protected, accessible,” she says. She is optimistic, suspecting that people underestimate the political engagement of young people and the history of social justice movements in the South and Midwest: “These are regions of the country that birthed liberation movements.”
Marzouk says there has been a growing interest among student activists in learning about self-administered abortion, which includes pills approved by the Food and Drug Administration that can be accessed through telehealth appointments and delivered through the mail. – although legal restrictions on both are still rapidly evolving.
“We’ve seen the sharing of information about self-administered abortion increase tremendously over the last few years, and even more so since June,” says Marzouk, who works alongside hundreds of activists across the country. In states with bans, campus activists must follow the same rules for counseling as Yellowhammer. Youth Advocates has had dozens of young people teach their peers how to share the World Health Organization’s guidelines for self-managed abortion in a way that “does not offer any kind of advice that could be interpreted as medical advice or legal,” she says. . For example, like “saying ‘a person would do XYZ’ and not using the language ‘you'”.
And above all, advocates say, it’s important to encourage students not to be afraid to ask for information or help. “No matter what, there are so many people in this country who are committed and committed to helping you get the abortion care you need,” says Yellowhammer’s McLain. “No stigma, no shame and no ruining your life.”
Marzouk says she still finds room for optimism despite the draconian restrictions on abortion. “Working with young people has given me so much hope,” she says. “I’ve seen young people stay incredibly creative during what is a very dark time.”