Some U.S. students are reconsidering college plans in states with abortion bans

But Huang, 16, said she had removed the college from her list of applications after Ohio last month passed an almost total abortion ban. It now plans to throw a larger network to schools in states with less restrictive laws.

“I do not want to go to school in a state that has an abortion ban,” she said.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in June to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion nationwide, has prompted some students to reconsider their higher education plans as states rush to allow abortions. ban or restrict it, according to conversations with 20 college students and counselors across the country.

It has long been the case that some students have been reluctant to go to schools in places with other political affiliations than their own, but recent initiatives by conservative states on topics such as abortion and LGBTQ + rights have reinforced the country’s polarization.

For some students, the restrictions raise fears that they will not be able to have an abortion if they need it or that they will be discriminated against because of gender differences. Others said they were concerned about racial prejudice or political exclusion.

“I’m in high school right now and I’m still figuring out who I am,” said Samira Murad, 17, who will be a senior at Stuyvesant High School in New York this fall. “I do not want to move to a place where I can not be myself because of laws that have been introduced.”

It is too early to say whether these concerns will have a measurable impact on admissions, and evidence from other recent laws that are divisive in the states suggests that there will generally be little impact.

But in the wake of Roe’s overthrow, counselors have said that abortion has played a large role in many client conversations, and some have even rejected their dream schools.

“Some of our students have explicitly stated that they will not apply to colleges and universities in states that violate their access to reproductive rights,” said Daniel Santos, president of the Prepory firm, which offers college counseling in Florida.


Kristen Willmott, a consultant at Top Tier Admissions in Massachusetts, said students she works with have told her they are removing some top schools in Texas, Florida and Tennessee from their application lists because of their restrictive abortion laws.

Alexis Prisco, who is entering his final year at Maryland’s Eastern Technical High School, planned to enroll in his parents’ alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. Louis, Missouri.

However, she is cautious after the state passed a law that effectively bans abortion.

“Now my mother has warned me to be very careful about applying to schools in states with trigger laws,” Prisco, 17, said, referring to bans set to take effect when the Supreme Court overthrows Roe.

Washington University declined to comment, but issued a statement June 24 acknowledging the fears and frustration some felt after the court ruling. Oberlin College did not respond to requests for comment.

Several students have expressed similar concerns about attending a university in North Carolina after the state passed a law in 2016 limiting which bathrooms transgender people are allowed to use, said counselor Jayson Weingarten of New York-based Ivy Coach.

But he said many still chose to go to Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UNC’s admissions statistics show that the number of applicants increased by 14% between 2016 and 2017 despite unrest from individual students.

Abortion is “a topic that worries most students, but not something that will stop them from attending one of the most selective schools in the country,” Weingarten said.

Shahreen Abedin, a spokeswoman for the University of Texas Medical School, said the school had not seen a drop in enrollment that it could reasonably attribute to a state ban on abortions after six weeks that went into effect in September.

But for Maryland high school student Sabrina Thaler, the prospect of going to college in a state that bans abortion is worrying.

Thaler, 16, remembered the question she posed to her high school class during a discussion in May after the decision was leaked, which eventually toppled Roe v. Wade.

“What if I go to university in a state where abortion is illegal and I get raped and I do not have the opportunity to have an abortion?”

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