Students Build Power to Overcome Abortion Barriers with “Abortion on Campus” Campaign
Planned Parenthood Generation Action and Advocates for Youth mobilize for abortion access
New York, NY — As state lawmakers across the country move forward with dangerous abortion bans and restrictions, Generation Z is mobilizing to ensure abortion remains accessible in their local communities through “Abortion on Campus,” a new campaign by Advocates for Youth and Planned Parenthood Generation Action. On Monday, April 11, student leaders began a campaign displaying informational posters to help educate and organize their communities on abortion access.
The highly visible and customizable posters, designed by Advocates for Youth, will serve as toolkits that direct students to their nearest abortion centers. By placing these posters around college campuses, students will have better knowledge of costs, health center hours, available transportation, fake clinics to avoid, abortion restrictions in their state, and student health insurance coverage. This student-led educational campaign is a powerful way to organize and fight back against barriers to abortion access, while helping ensure their peers can access critical health care services.
Just like older adults, Gen Z — especially youth from Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities who face systemic racism and discrimination — are forced to navigate countless unnecessary barriers in order to access sexual and reproductive health care like well visits, contraception, and abortion. In addition to the burdens of state-specific abortion restrictions, young people may also struggle with financial roadblocks: co-payments, the cost of traveling to and from appointments, and/or obtaining other services without assistance from a parent or older adult. They may also have health privacy concerns if they’re on a parent’s or caregiver’s health insurance — and many of them are until age 26. Also, for many students, college health centers are their primary source of health care, and many college insurance plans don’t cover abortion. All of these factors deprive young people of their right to control their futures and ability to make personal medical decisions.
The Abortion on Campus campaign will continue on in the weeks ahead, as the Supreme Court weighs the future of Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that guarantees the constitutional right to abortion. And, although Roe is crucial for abortion access, young people rightly understand it as the floor, not the ceiling. To truly guarantee access to safe and legal abortion, barriers caused by racist policies, economic disparities, and limited health insurance plans — all of which disproportionately harm LGBTQIA+ communities, Black, Latino, and Indigenous people and other communities of color — must be addressed.
Statement from Vanessa Ferguson, president of Florida A&M University Generation Action:
“Being bold and unapologetically pro-abortion allows us to eradicate abortion stigma and expand access. In the words of Janelle Monáe: “[I] march to the streets ’cause I’m willing and I’m able. I do this work because I’m not afraid to create change. I’m about making my ancestors proud and helping others. I use my voice to be a warrior to fight for reproductive rights. We can all use our voices to fight for our rights, take back our communities, and say: No more.”
“Planned Parenthood Generation Action has allowed me to fight for Black liberation and diminish the reproductive health gap present at HBCUs. I organize and plan workshops on campuses that educate the student body on sexual health and reproductive justice. Reproductive freedom for Black women deserves as much recognition as any other freedom. Black women, girls, and femmes must be centered in this fight. No matter Black women’s history or the color of our skin — we deserve these rights because they are our human rights.”
Statement from Marandah Field-Elliot, state campaign manager for Abortion Access, Advocates for Youth:
“Students deserve access to abortion care, including medication abortion on campus. Think about how many people’s lives would be changed if you helped increase access to abortion on campus. Young people are responding to the national crisis of abortion access by working to ensure it is protected and expanded in their own communities, and this campaign provides the tools to share information about abortion access and activism widely and push for change on campuses across the country.”
Statement from Niharika Rao, Abortion on Campus activist at Barnard College:
“All colleges in New York can and should provide information, resources, and services including medication abortion to their students. We’re demanding this at Barnard and Columbia, as well as providing education, abortion doula services, and guides to students, as we believe it’s a vital part of exercising our reproductive autonomy. Everyone deserves this information and this campaign will help provide it on campuses everywhere.”
Statement from Kate Cartagena, associate director of youth campaigns at Planned Parenthood Generation Action:
“Young people across the country are organizing to increase access to abortion in their communities. While their activism might not look the same as other generations, the way they fight is deeply embedded in how they care about their community. Young people are fundraising for their loved ones to get abortions out of state, they are speaking out against draconian state abortion restrictions, and even organizing for their campuses to make emergency contraception, condoms, and medication abortion easily accessible to the students who need them.”