Colorado, in many ways, paved the way for abortion rights in the United States, being the first state to legalize abortion, while Boulder became one of the first cities to open its own clinic. But at universities today, almost all on-campus healthcare clinics in the country fail to offer abortions to college students. While Boulder may be one of the best places in the country to receive comprehensive sexual healthcare, students still cannot receive an abortion on campus.
In October 2019, California became the first state to provide college students with the option to receive medical abortions at their on-campus health clinics. This new bill argues for access to medical abortions on campus on the basis that students should not have to travel long distances or miss classes or work to obtain this kind of medical care. Colorado should follow in California’s footsteps.
In Boulder, there are three clinics where a student can receive an abortion: Planned Parenthood of Boulder, Boulder Abortion Clinic, P.C. and Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center. The CU Boulder on-campus health clinic, Wardenburg, does not provide this medical procedure. As a result, students are forced to leave campus for an abortion and may have to sacrifice classes or work.
One major concern, which threatens the safety and freedom of students, is the number of fake abortion clinics that are growing in Colorado. Often born from a conservative stance on women’s healthcare, these institutions discourage people from abortions. The group’s claim to provide a full range of sexual health services and thereby lure those seeking an abortion into clinics. In reality, these clinics only provide a pregnancy test and a barrage of anti-abortion propaganda. Deceptive practices such as these force stress on students who simply wish to receive the safe and legal healthcare that is their constitutional right.
There are more than 70 known fake clinics in Colorado according to Westword. Closest to Boulder is a new pro-life pregnancy clinic, Boulder Pregnancy Resource Center, which opened its doors near to campus in June 2019. Rising numbers of fake abortion clinics endanger student health and safety. By utilizing on-campus health clinics, students can receive private, safe abortions with the protection and support of their university.
Nevertheless, Wardenburg gives students access to a multitude of services concerning reproductive health. Wardenburg also advocates for free online sexual education, such as the website Bedsider.org. Sexual health resources will only be complete, however, if students have access to a full array of reproductive medical procedures.
On-campus health clinics that don’t provide abortions fail to grasp the reality that abortions will always be a need for some. The basis for this argument is that no birth control method prevents pregnancy 100% of the time. About 70% of the 61 million women of reproductive age are at risk of unintended pregnancy. The majority of women in their 20s and teens use the contraceptive pill. Contrary to a common misconception regarding the pill’s effectiveness, it is actually only 91% effective. This means that unplanned pregnancies will continue to occur. Statistics on birth control frequency support the same conclusion. By age 45, about one in four women in the U.S. will have had an abortion, according to an analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health. By the age of 20, 4.6% of women will have had an abortion and by age 30, 19% of women will have done so.
Because abortion is a necessity, it is important institutions exist to offer a safe environment for this medical procedure to take place in. Some anti-abortion sentiments come from a view that emphasizes bodily damage. According to a study done by Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, only about 36% of abortions take place in a safe, private, clean environment. Many women die from unsafe procedures performed on them. Leaving women in dire situations that ultimately injure or kill them constitutes the other 67%. It is vital these circumstances are prevented by a safe, informative and supported institution. On-campus clinics provide such a place.
Only when abortions are offered in on-campus clinics will universities demonstrate sufficient concern for student health and safety. It is, therefore, critical that universities give students access to the full array of reproductive healthcare options.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Vayle LaFehr at firstname.lastname@example.org.