Access to abortion is a factor for a majority of students when it comes to choosing a college or staying at their current institution, according to a new study from Lumina Foundation and Gallup.
Nearly three-quarters of currently enrolled college students (72%) report that the reproductive health laws in the state where their college is located are at least somewhat important to their decision to stay enrolled. A smaller majority of unenrolled U.S. adults, aged 18 to 59, who do not have a degree (60%) say these laws are at least somewhat important to their decision to enroll in a specific college or university.
Abortion Bans Influencing College Choices?
The research marks the first major study regarding abortion and academia since the reversal of Roe v. Wade in June of 2022. At Gallup.com, a summary of the poll warns that schools in states that have adopted or are considering adopting restrictive abortion policies “may be at risk of even greater enrollment declines.”
In response to the findings, A recent TIME Magazine article exhorts certain states to adopt less restrictive legislation in regard to abortion to help bolster college enrollment. The article highlights how recent abortion bans in states like Texas, Alabama, and Georgia are impacting the student experience at universities in those states:
“As many state leaders are treating abortion rights as something confined to health clinics, they are missing the broader ripples here. Much the same way corporations and sports voted with their feet when states adopted policies that were counter to their values, college applicants are looking closely at the cultural climate of places where they could spend four—or likely more—years studying and exploring their lives as young adults. Red states were already having a tough time attracting talent among students and professors alike, and veering to the right on abortion is only going to make retaining their rankings and prestige more difficult.”
At Care Net, we wholeheartedly disagree with this narrative. We believe the recent poll does not show the effectiveness or moral justification of abortion legislation. Instead, students should be educated about the value of life and empowered to make informed decisions that prioritize their health and well-being. Students should consider more than abortion when picking a college. They should consider choosing a university that promotes life.
Instead of increased abortion access, we advocate for shining a spotlight on pregnancy support services. Current and incoming college students should focus on the fact that most cities and states have pregnancy centers who provide alternatives to abortion and advocate for the value of life.
Earlier this year, on Care Net’s Abundant Life Blog, we wrote about the impact of Baby Steps, a pro-life organization that supports pregnant and parenting women at Auburn University in the traditionally red state of Alabama. Baby Steps, located within walking distance of the Auburn campus, provides the resources needed to help moms graduate, including housing, professional counseling, groceries, tutoring, academic advising, access to baby supplies, and support groups.
This kind of compassion, help, and hope for the women and men facing pregnancy decisions is readily available through organizations like Baby Steps and through nearly three-thousand pregnancy resource centers in the United States.
Regarding the research from Gallup and Lumina Foundation, Care Net hopes that college students across the nation will become part of our Pro-Abundant Life movement. We encourage students and organizations to advocate for pro-life policies such as parental involvement laws, informed consent laws, and bans on late-term abortions. We encourage individuals to contact their elected officials and participate in peaceful demonstrations to show their support for these policies.
In regards to choosing a college and abortion access, it’s time to truly educate, not legislate.