To All the College Students Freaked Out About Their Abortion Rights

If you’re a college student, the last few weeks of spring just hit different. Between cramming for finals, searching for jobs, and saying goodbye to friends, your feels are probably ricocheting all over the place, morphing from stressed-out to excited as hell as you plan and prep for the coming months. At least that’s how I remember feeling during my final week of college back in 2019.

But just a few weeks ago, someone leaked a document that suggested the highest court in the country might overturn Roe v. Wade and end the constitutional right to abortion. So if you’re a college student, then you might also be feeling scared, let down, pissed off, or all of the above. (I know I am!) And you know what? That’s totally normal. In fact, it’s useful! Because these feelings are exactly the type of fuel we need for the fight ahead.

For the last four years, I’ve been advocating for abortion rights and access through my work with Women Have Options Ohio and Advocates for Youth. But my fight actually began in 2018, my junior year at UMass Amherst, the year I had an abortion. There had only been one clinic in all of Western Massachusetts, about 45 minutes from campus. Public transportation consisted of buses that came once every few hours, and because my appointment was scheduled for midday, the only people I would have felt comfortable asking for a ride from were busy with work or school. So I drove myself.

I was grateful to have not only a car but also the state Medicaid that would cover the entire cost of my procedure. Still, gratitude can’t cover medicine, pads, snacks, and all the other purchases that might make my physical and emotional recovery more comfortable. With the last $30 of my campus tutoring paycheck in my pocket, I forked over $20 for gas, some cheap pads, and a travel-size packet of pain meds.

An overwhelming sense of confusion and loneliness racked my mind and body that day. I was a 21-year-old who had received exactly zero sex education from her K–12 Catholic school and her conservative family. All I knew was that the prospect of having a child terrified me and that I did not want to continue this pregnancy. Relieved, grateful, and liberated, I walked out of the abortion clinic after my procedure determined to knock down those same barriers I’d faced so that future generations had a chance at deciding their own futures like I did mine.

As you wrap up the semester and get ready for a whole lot of unknowns, believe me when I say there’s a lot we do know. We know what we’re up against. We know what’s at stake. We know how to organize, and we know there’s a history of young and marginalized people banding together on campuses, in their communities, and at courthouses to make sure our voices and our collective power are heard, felt, and witnessed. This summer might not be the one we all imagined, but it can be a summer of action. You’ve got this!

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