Abortion is healthcare.

The ethical necessity for abortion is not up for debate. Bodily autonomy and the right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term is a human right. From a medical point of view, the consensus of the national OBGYN Association (ACOG) is that abortions should be legal. A 1997 study found that up to half of maternal deaths were caused by illegally performed abortions. Studies suggest that forcing a person to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term can cause significant health consequences. Plus, the cost of raising a child in America is becoming increasingly expensive. The University should not expect an unemployed student to simultaneously maintain their studies while providing for a child. Even the emotional and physical cost of carrying a pregnancy while pursuing a degree is an unreasonable burden to place on a young adult.

The University says that it considers abortions to be healthcare. However, abortions are not currently offered as a service on campus at UHS, a “full-service healthcare clinic”. Students are referred to abortion providers far away from campus. But for many students, this is a huge obstacle, since students often do not have access to reliable transportation that can take them off campus. Furthermore, access to emergency contraceptives and STI testing is only confidential when you pay out of pocket.

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) demands that the University of Rochester puts their money where their mouth is and provides free on-campus access to an OBGYN, abortion services, and free contraceptives. Protecting healthcare access to thousands of childbearing students, faculty, and staff is the next necessary step beyond virtue signaling. 

UR’s SDS chapter, in collaboration with the College Feminists, will be holding a panel discussion on the topic of abortion access on Tuesday, February 7th, at 6 pm in the Welles-Brown room, followed by a student rally in front of Rush Rhees on the Eastman Quad at 6 pm, February 9th. They invite all students who support this cause to attend both events and assist them in making a real change on the University of Rochester campus.

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