The legal status of abortion is changing daily since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade. The court ruled that the decision on whether or not to allow abortion should be left to individual states.
Since, some states have banned abortion outright with “trigger laws” that have been on their books for decades and suddenly relevant with Roe’s reversal. Elsewhere, restrictive abortion laws are working their way through state legislatures.
“The state of play is changing by the hour,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, tells Politico. “To state the obvious, the Supreme Court decision has plunged this country and the court itself into a historic crisis.”
To find out how college students are reacting new abortion bans in states where they go to school, Intelligent.com, an online magazine centered around helping students make informed choices about their college education, surveyed 1,000 current U.S. college students in states where abortion is currently or will soon be illegal.
The survey found that 20% of such students “definitely” plan to transfer to schools in states where abortion is legal, and 25% are considering it. Further, 75% of pro-choice college students are “very concerned” that a nationwide ban will soon follow.
EVEN ‘PRO-LIFE’ STUDENTS MAY TRANSFER
A surprising finding of the survey is that even students who consider themselves pro-life are considering leaving states with bans, up to 39% of them in fact.
Of the 1,000 respondents, 38% reported being “pro-life, with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.” Another 14% identified being “pro-life with no exceptions.”
“When asked why they are planning to or considering transferring, 61% of pro-life students say it’s to ensure that they or their partner(s) can access abortion care should they find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy,” reads Intelligent’s survey report. “Another 23% of students who identify as pro-life don’t want their education interrupted by an unplanned pregnancy.”
ALMOST HALF OF STUDENTS IN STATES WITH ABORTION PLANS MAY LEAVE
In the survey, 20% of students attending school in a state where abortion is already or soon-to-be illegal, say they’re definitely transferring out of that state. These include West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and Utah.
“For nearly half of students who are attending school in states where abortion is currently or will soon be illegal, the overturning of Roe v. Wade presents a potential disruption to their education,” the report says.
Another 25% are considering whether to leave. The remaining 55% will stay at their current schools.
TRANSFER PLANS BY POLITICAL PARTY & GENDER
It’s certainly no surprise that a student’s political party would influence how they feel about transferring out of state. In fact, it seems to have an even greater influence than gender, according to the survey.
“In a nod to how politicized the issue of reproductive rights has become, a student’s political affiliation, not their gender or personal views on abortion, appears most likely to inform their reaction to abortion bans in the state where they’re attending college,” the report says.
- 27% of Democratic students say they will definitely transfer, and 28% are considering it. That’s 55% of Democratic college students who may transfer out of states with abortion bans.
- Meanwhile, just 19% Republican students are definitely transferring and 22% are considering it. That’s 41% of Republican students weighing their options.
- Students who are not affiliated with a political party are the most unlikely to transfer – 11% will definitely do so, and 25% are considering it.
Gender played less of a role in students’ decisions – 20% of both men and women said they would definitely transfer, while 28% of women and 23% of men are considering switching schools.
WHY ARE STUDENTS CONSIDERING TRANSFERRING?
Respondents reported a number of reasons they would consider transferring out of states with abortion bans. The biggest of all was to ensure they or their partners will have access to care in the event of an unwanted pregnancy: 65% of overall respondents including 70% of men and 61% of women.
Other reasons include:
- 48% of college women want to live in states that protect their bodily autonomy compared to 40% of college men.
- 46% women don’t want to support state economies where abortion is illegal compared to 43% men.
WHY STUDENTS ARE STAYING PUT
Practically speaking, not every college student can easily uproot and move. They may have scholarships or be too far along in their studies, for example. Others simply support abortion restrictions.
In fact, Intelligent.com found that 52% of students who are staying put are doing so because of personal or financial reasons.
- 29% report being too far along in their studies.
- Republicans are twice as likely (27% to 11%) as democrats to have no plans to transfer because they support abortion bans.
- 19% of pro-choice students believe they have the resources to travel out-of-state if they needed abortion care, so are staying put in their current states.
IS A NATION WIDE ABORTION BAN COMING?
Just about three weeks after the Supreme Court decided abortion was a state’s issues, several prominent Republican house members are now expressing their support for legislation that would ban nationwide the procedure after a fetal heart beat is detected. Other anti-abortion activists have called for bans on contraceptives and other reproductive care.
College students are paying attention. In fact, three fourths of survey respondents are “very concerned” about a nationwide abortion ban with 22% being “somewhat concerned.”
“In order to combat this, the majority of pro-choice students are taking action. Forty-seven percent are advocating for abortion rights by signing petitions, and 40% have attended protests or rallies,” the survey says. “Some are showing their support by donating to abortion funds and reproductive rights organizations (29%) or volunteering with reproductive rights organizations (21%).”
Intelligent.com surveyed 1,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 in 20 states where abortion has been or will likely be restricted following the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. The survey was conducted between July 1-4. Of respondents, 17% were college freshmen, 27% sophomores, 23% juniors and 27% seniors.
Read the full survey here.