Wash Post Article: Roe vs. Wade decision impacts college decisions

Interesting article about how the recent Roe vs. Wade decision might be impacting college decisions.



Perhaps one important point (not explicitly mentioned in that page) is that people draw the line when political differences are not just politics, but things that one thinks will affect one’s quality of life when implemented. (The politics of race, ethnicity, and LGBT are other similar political topics.)

The page also notes that some colleges in abortion-banning states attract many students from abortion-protecting states, so those colleges may be particularly at risk of losing appeal:

College % from abortion banning states % from abortion-protecting states
Oberlin 14 57
Kenyon 23 57
Tulane 27 53
Marquette 39 53
WUStL 30 50

I’ll just say this whole trend is bad… this trend towards segmentation into 2 different nations.
California will not finance government sponsored travel to 22 states as a political statement.
Anti-abortion states are threatening to punish residents for traveling to other states for abortion services that are legal in those states.
Students choosing to go to college based on the state’s abortion laws, which inherently means liberal students to “liberal” states and “conservative” students to “conservative” states.

The less people of different ideologies and different geographies interact with each other, that means the less we understand each other. The less we are able to bridge our differences.

Instead, colleges will even more so become echo chambers of agreement. Where red state colleges will be like watching Fox News 24/7 and blue state colleges will be like watching MSNBC 24/7.


For our family, the “where’s my kid going to college” topic is not a decision based on one factor/issue. But I totally understand why it would be a critical deciding factor for many families.

It’s a very personal and individual decision and what works for one family won’t necessarily be the right decision for another family. The good thing is that there’s thousands of great colleges & universities all across the US, so there’s a lot to choose from.


I just think it’s more than disheartening that our daughters might feel shut out of schools in close to half the country. One of the top criteria for my girl right now is weather/climate (due to health concerns). That a good part of the country might feel off limits is not ok. I’m of the mindset right now that I will get my child an IUD before college, and let her go wherever she feels is a good fit. (Further changes like if they go and outlaw IUDs may impact my mindset). For now, I think the schools (teachers/students) themselves in most cases would not be as closed minded as the state they’re located in though I could be wrong. And she should not have fewer choices in what schools she should/can attend because that again is just not OK.


I too am horrified by the balkanization of our country into red and blue patches. There was a recent opinion piece from an author who moved to North Carolina expecting to experience a purple state, only to see that it was just red sections and blue sections throughout the state rather than much mixing going on between followers of the two parties. I have multiple previous posts here on CC praising the benefits of being part of a community with diversity in all of its forms, including political and religious beliefs.

The decision overturing Roe v. Wade goes so far beyond the issue of abortion, though. Here are two quotes that I think illustrate some of the concerns of people who would choose an abortion-protected state over an abortion-banned state.

Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, laid out a vision that prompted concerns about what other rights could disappear: The same rationale that the Supreme Court used to declare there was no right to abortion, he said, should also be used to overturn cases establishing rights to contraception, same-sex consensual relations and same-sex marriage. (source)

The Michigan Attorney General said

“People should see the connection between reproductive rights, L.G.B.T.Q. rights, women’s rights, interracial marriage — these things are all connected legally.” (Source)

It’s one thing for people to have differing views on something. One person is pro-choice and their neighbor across the street is pro-life. Each household can make decisions in line with their beliefs, but neither is forced to support or live by the other person’s beliefs (i.e. a pro-life person would never be forced to have an abortion or use birth control). But once people’s rights start being taken away, that’s a different story altogether.

It very much reminds me “First They Came…” by Martin Niemoller which I have adapted below.

First they came for Abortions, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not pro-choice.

Then they came for the Transgender Individuals, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not Transgender.

Then they came for the Same-Sex Couples, and I did not speak out—
Because I did not want to be part of a Same-Sex Couple.

Then they came for Contraception, and I did not speak out—
Because I did not need Contraception.

Then they came for Interracial Marriage, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not part of an Interracial Marriage.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


Completely agree. It will be interesting to see how private schools in some restrictive states handle this situation - if there is anything they can do. This was the official statement put out by Rice shortly after the decision:

Dear Rice Community,

We know many of our faculty, staff and students are deeply distressed by the Supreme Court’s recent decision reversing a half century of constitutional protection of the right to an abortion. This decision has serious consequences for women who will now face additional hurdles to effectively managing their reproductive health and wellbeing. The added burdens, including out of state travel for those seeking abortion services, will fall most harshly on the least economically advantaged. Rice is committed to gender equality and to supporting our faculty, staff, and students. We are exploring how we can best continue to appropriately support the reproductive rights of our community, including access to abortion services. We are working through these issues and we will share relevant information in as timely a manner as possible.

We know there are a range of perspectives on this issue, but this change in the law will severely impact many in our community and beyond. We remain committed to supporting the health needs of women at Rice, and we are working to determine the ways in which the university can appropriately provide support in this changed environment.

David W. Leebron, President

Reginald DesRoches, Provost

President Leebron has since retired and DesRoches is now President. Both have college-aged daughters. Leebron’s just graduated and DesRoches has a senior at Rice.


This whole matter could have been avoided if there was a federal law protecting the right to abortion, as there should have been for over a decade now. In any event, I sent my daughters to school with birth control, Plan B, and Plan C pills packed in their luggage, and I recommend it for everyone. I was confident that would cover almost any possible contingency and they were smart enough to figure it out.


I agree that our country seems to be breaking in half, and that it seems ominous for our future. But I’m not sure that the problem could be fixed if we would interact more and “understand each other.” I feel like I understand already! They are upfront that their next goal is to ban gay marriages. My kid is gay. How can I send him to one of these states? Imagine if there were states threatening to outlaw heterosexual marriage. Would parents of straight kids feel good about sending their kids to those states? What if I said that they should just suck it up and try to get out of their echo chambers, and try to “understand?”


I agree with that. They have had nearly 50 years to codify Roe v Wade and plenty of opportunities when the control of the presidency and congress were of the same party. Even RBG stated that Roe v Wade was on shaky legal ground.
There was no urgency to codify Roe v Wade because then it could no longer be used as a political football. Now the decision was sent back to the states and the hysteria it’s created (some legit and some not legit) is again being used as a political football. This is a problem created by both sides of politics. To say it is one sided is blatantly wrong and naive.


Where are people able to access “Plan C pills” (i.e. abortion pills) to just have around? They don’t just give those out without a prescription!

If that is a concern, you may want to investigate which state abortion laws or proposed abortion laws could define IUDs as “abortion” that is restricted or banned, even if no additional restrictions on other birth control are enacted.


We’re several years away from that, but practically speaking, how on earth would they actually enforce anything like that when an IUD is implanted beforehand in a different state? It’s not like they can go looking? Serious question.
And I realize I’m the one who stated that may influence my thinking. I’m just debating with myself if that’s really even a legit concern since how can anyone enforce something like this.

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Many doctors will prescribe them prophylactically. Or one might be visiting one of the countries they are available over the counter, or one could contact aid access ( in Austria) for them.


Yes, this is the distinction between political differences that are just politics, versus those which directly impact quality of life. The latter causes politics to get nastier (in that there is often no middle ground, especially if it involves removal of rights for those adversely impacted) and is more likely to affect personal decisions on where to go to college or relocate.


Well, as a doctor,every time I do a pap or pelvic on a patient with an IUD I do “go looking” for the IUD strings and document their presence in my note. What if a young woman develops pelvic pain while away at college, and IUDs are no longer legal in that state? Will she still go to the ER?


That’s going beyond college age women. I would be very very worried if my childbearing age DD ends up in one of the anti abortion states. We all know about conditions when even planned pregnancy needs to be terminated for medical reasons. So despite my thoughts about politics this one single issue overpower any other political leaning I might have. That decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade was suicidal for political party that supports it.


That’s news to me, and I am a doctor. I have absolutely never heard of this occurring in the US.


I agree that it is unfortunate, but am in the lucky position of being able to treat it as I would other medical care requiring a trip-I would probably go out of town for complicated cardiac care as well, for example.

Thanks, that is good to know. Never having one, I had no idea. My issue with pills is it’s another thing to remember to take - I was not good at taking them as a young person. My girl has to take them for health reasons but if it was for avoiding pregnancy I would want something more reliable and not dependent on human error. Thank you for explaining it. I’ll keep an eye on that in this case.