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Barnard College will offer abortion pills for students

The entrance of Barnard College in New York City.

Barnard College, a private women's college in New York City, will give students access to medication abortion — abortion pills — as soon as fall of next year, school officials announced Thursday.

The move, a direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, was made to ensure students' access to abortion health services no matter what the future holds, Marina Catallozzi, Barnard's chief health officer, and Leslie Grinage, the dean of the college, said in a statement announcing the move.

"Barnard applies a reproductive justice and gender-affirming framework to all of its student health and well-being services, and particularly to reproductive healthcare. In the post-Roe context, we are bolstering these services," Catallozzi and Grinage said.

The Food and Drug Administration last year relaxed decades-old restrictions on one of the medications, mifepristone, used to induce abortions in early pregnancy, allowing people to get it through the mail.

In the months since Roe was overturned, several states have restricted abortion access. Like Barnard, some schools, employers and other institutions have responded by attempting to broaden abortion access where possible.

Starting in January 2023, University of California and California State University campuses will similarly offer medication abortion under a state law.

Major employers have publicly said they will provide employees with travel coverage if they need to go out of state to get an abortion.

Just because Barnard is located in New York, where access to abortion has not been restricted, doesn't mean the college can't be prepared, officials said.

"While our students have access to high-quality reproductive health services in New York and particularly at [Columbia University Irving Medical Center], we are also preparing in the event that there is a barrier to access in the future, for any reason," Catallozzi and Grinage said.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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