Accessible abortions or a vibrant party life? How Roe v Wade affects this year’s college admissions
This year, college applicants have one more quality to consider when applying, what states have accessible abortions, and which ones don’t? What Roe v Wade being overturned means for the class of 2023.
BY CEBELLI PFEIFER
When choosing between which colleges or universities one will apply to, social life, academics, and cost are all up for consideration, but in light of the recent Supreme Court decision made on June 24, 2022, one more quality is up for contemplation; accessible abortions.
After leaked information about the 1970 Roe v Wade case being overturned circulated around the United States in May 2022, the official decision to overturn the case involving legal abortions was decided in June; allowing individual states to mandate whether or not abortions are legally accessible in their region.
Currently, thirteen states in the country have officially placed a ban on abortions. Given that the average age to get an abortion is between ages 15 and 44, Roe v Wade being overturned is affecting college admissions from multiple angles.
Tulane, an academically rigorous institution in the heart of Louisiana is known for its infusion of a “work hard-play hard” atmosphere that attracts thousands of applicants each year. Louisiana is one of the thirteen states that have a ban on abortions, which could lead to its application rate falling short in comparison to previous years.
“Schools such as Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Austin, Louisiana State University, Clemson University, and Indiana University at Bloomington were all ones I ended up taking off of my list due to the abortion ban,” Woodside High School senior Josephine Meade said. “Despite my belief that colleges have a bubble of political views separate from the state, the laws that restrict me turn me away.”
However, similar to Tulane, schools like Notre Dame and Vanderbilt are highly prestigious, academically rigorous schools that attract applying seniors because of their reputable qualities. Indiana and Tennessee make up two of the thirteen states that have solidified abortion bans, and at times the ban is not enough to turn students completely away from applying.
“I decided to keep the University of Notre Dame in Indiana on my application list,” Meade said. “Notre Dame has a reputation as a pro-life campus, despite its area, and the college itself has been one that I have been interested in a very long time because its academics are so great.”
The city a school is in has a large influence over the atmosphere and general character of the institution itself, whether that be politically or socially. While a state like Georgia may have put a ban on abortions, the city of Atlanta has a more liberal reputation. Woodside high school Senior Lorenzo Pepe said that he had decided to keep Morehouse College on his application list for this reason.
Given the date of Roe v Wade being overturned at the beginning of summer, if headed to college, the class of 2022 has already committed to their university of choice; meaning that many young people headed to the South were thrown a curveball.
“My dream of going to school in the South didn’t change, but after Roe v Wade became overturned, it did make me think about my future after college and whether I [was] to stay living in the South,” Auburn University freshman Rachel Mull said. “I think I used to be more open to starting my career and family in the South after college, but now with the overturning, I don’t think I’m comfortable with living in the South long term or potentially forever.”
Unlike States in the south, such as Alabama and Mississippi that almost immediately re-enforced bans on abortion, there are states like Michigan and Pennsylvania with reputable institutions such as the University of Michigan, UPenn, and Penn State that have not yet solidified abortion bans, and are instead still up in the air.
Now, there is more to look for in a University when deciding to pay up to $80 for a college application fee. Social life, cost of attendance, and academics are not the only characteristics left to be considered when applying.
“I think that it will cause students to really think more about the state they want to go to rather than just the school they want to go to,” Mull said. “I think there will be a rise in applications to liberal schools.”
The west coast, specifically the state of California, is filled with progressive, liberal schools that have essentially dismissed the push to ban abortions with Roe v Wade being overturned, and have instead continued to allow the funding of planned parenthood and the encouragement of pro-choice ideals.
“I suggested a college to a senior that fits her in many ways,” College Counselor Zorina Matavulji said. “..but her reaction was, ‘I just don’t think I can be in that state; it’s too Republican.’”
Given California’s progressive and liberal reputation, the future of what California college admissions will look like is unknown.
“Only so many students can be admitted to schools located in liberal states, so an influx of applications could negatively impact female students who previously had target or safety schools in a progressive state and now has become a reach for them which could potentially force them to enroll in a safety or target school in a more conservative state, forcing them to compromise their reproductive rights for higher education,” Pepe explained.
The UC system, composed of nine schools along California makeup a few of the most attractive schools in the nation, such as UCLA and UC Berkeley in addition to schools not in the UC system such as USC, Cal Tech, and Pepperdine.
At the end of the day, students applying to colleges for years to come have one more characteristic to consider when looking at where they are applying. No matter where one chooses to go, it is important to understand the law and stay prepared just in case.
My friends have a kid who went to Sequoia [High school] and is now heading to Wash U in Missouri,” Matavulji said. “Her mom said she’s sending her with a few Plan B pills packed in her bag.”
The Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority.