Abortion pill must be accessible on CUNY, SUNY campuses




The Editorial Board

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation on May 2 that will make hormonal contraception available over the counter to all CUNY and SUNY students. This bill should be regarded as a victory in the fight against inequity within the healthcare system.

The legislation is also welcome news in the face of ongoing legal attacks on women’s reproductive rights following the historic felling of Roe v. Wade.

Just last month, a Texas federal judge ruled to suspend the FDA’s nearly 23-year-old approval of abortion pill mifepristone, leaving the drug to an uncertain fate.

Hochul’s move to back legislation that would make the pill available to CUNY and SUNY students therefore sends a clear message: women are sick and tired of being told what to do with their bodies.

Two pills — mifepristone and misoprostol — are typically taken together to induce an abortion. Data analyzed by CNN indicates that ingesting mifepristone is even safer than some common, low-risk drugs, including Viagra or penicillin.

Furthermore, limited access to abortion care are linked to higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, child poverty and domestic violence. Additionally, restrictions disproportionately impact communities of color, low-income households and LGBTQ+ people.

Expanding the availability of these abortion pills is a critical step toward extending underrepresented people’s freedoms. Barnard College and the city-run Jamaica and Morrisania Sexual Health Clinics already provide abortion medications for free.

Morrisania served 32 patients between January and February of this year, 34% of which were Bronx residents, with 19% Spanish-speaking only residents and 16% under the age of 21.

Once Hochul’s legislation is in place in 2024, students will be able access abortion on campus or be referred to an outside provider who is authorized to prescribe medication, according to New York State.

This reproductive freedom will reaffirm that pregnant people have the ultimate right to decide what happens to their bodies, thereby prioritizing their well-being over political games.