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The End of Law Creates New Challenges for Higher Education

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The recent Dobbs Supreme Court ruling, which overturned half a century of abortion rights, has impacted broad sectors of society, and higher education is no exception. The impact on higher education falls into (at least) five areas. disruption of training in medical schools; changes in on-campus student health services; Decrease in out-of-state admissions to anti-abortion states. Shift in determining teacher locations away from anti-abortion states. For some of these issues, existing research provides a useful guide to expected outcomes. Other results will take time to emerge and will depend on how abortion prevention restrictions and enforcement evolve in individual states, but informed speculation is possible.

There is very strong evidence that restricting abortion lowers female educational attainment, at least among black women. As part of the Dobbs case, 154 economists submitted her Amici Curiae outline.

Legalization of abortion has had downstream effects on women’s social and economic lives. Economists have also used causal inference tools to more broadly measure the impact of abortion legalization on women’s social and economic outcomes …research shows abortion legalization impacts fertility It has also been shown to have a significant impact on women’s wages and educational attainment. Black women feel it the most.

Recent targeted state restrictions on access to abortion for women under the age of 18 have reduced college enrollment and completion for black women by 1 to 3 percentage points, according to one study. Perhaps eliminating most abortions would have a greater impact, but the availability of medical abortion may offer some alternative routes. Other studies examining the effects of allowing minors access to abortion without parental notification found that black women college graduates tended to have higher unmet contraceptive needs than white women. It has been shown to have a large positive effect on rates.

Part of the shift in college admissions is to avoid unwanted births that make attending college difficult or impossible. Part also appears to be due in part to women having more access to abortion, more control over the timing of their pregnancies, and choosing to make greater investments in their human capital. Evidence from pre-Roe times shows that the availability of abortion to young women enabled women to delay marriage and childbearing more than the availability of contraception.

Disruption in medical school training

Looking at the issue of training in medical schools, the response to abortion restrictions is just beginning. The university response is complicated both by the fact that medical training standards are national and by the fact that some medical schools offer training across states. About 44% of obstetrics and gynecology residents live in states where abortion training is likely to be restricted. The standards for training in this area are set by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The council proposes that medical schools in states that cannot offer abortion training should offer that training in other states. other states. It becomes even more complicated for medical schools when training is offered across state lines. For example, the University of Washington School of Medicine provides medical training to students in Idaho and Wyoming, both states that restrict abortion. Specialized training in obstetrics and gynecology is only available in Washington state, but states that are currently planning to restrict abortion also offer abortion training as a family medicine background. It is not yet clear how the University of Washington and other institutions will change their training in light of the conflict.

On-Campus Student Health Service Changes

Most colleges and universities offer student health services, but the extent to which these services include abortion varies. Demand for abortion services by college students is by no means small. Although reliable data are not available, estimates based on demographically-adjusted abortion rates suggest that in California alone, public college students practice medicinal abortion at a rate of 300-500 students per month. medication). I go to college at a rate of 800 to 1,100 a month. (Her four-year public college in California has about 1 million students, and community colleges have about 1.2 million students.)

Student health services will also have to deal with the increased demand for “Plan B” type contraceptives. This may prove to be still restricted in some states, even if it doesn’t induce abortion. In many situations, especially as institutions adjust to the state’s new legal landscape, there will be great uncertainty in the coming months about what is legally/politically acceptable. The school recently removed a paragraph from its website informing students about pregnancy options. did. The federal government’s recently proposed Title IX changes clarify that pregnancy, miscarriage, and abortion are conditions eligible for the same protection as other medical conditions (e.g., medically exempt from class). are). The exact interplay between the protection of pregnant students and restrictions on abortion (eg, privacy protection for students seeking information about abortion) needs to be worked out to some extent.

Decrease in out-of-state enrollment in anti-abortion states

About 1 in 5 college students attend an out-of-state college. Will fewer out-of-state students choose to study in abortion-restricted states and more high school graduates choosing to leave these states to attend college? I give the example of the state Rice University. There, a quarter of her students are from states such as California where abortions are legal, 40% of students are from Texas, and the remaining 12% of her students prohibit most abortions. Coming from another state. Will Rice see either an outflow of Texas students or a decline in inflows from California? . What we do know is that states with restrictive laws have historically imported out-of-state college students at near-national rates, with the exception of Texas, where out-of-state students are relatively few. Many colleges serve populations that have few out-of-state students and are unlikely to attend out-of-state colleges, so they may see little effect, College admissions risks, where potential students have more choices, are uncertain for the next few years.

Relocation of Teachers to Locations Away from Pro-Abortion States

If the world of Twitter is to be believed, many faculty members are quitting jobs in abortion-restricting states and moving to more female-friendly environments. (Anecdotally, motivations include protecting the health of young female teachers, raising daughters in highly regulated states, and perhaps from teachers who tend to favor choice over the population as a whole in states that restrict abortion. political ill-feeling.) Universities can raid disgruntled faculty members in restricted states. It is too early to have any real evidence as to whether many faculty will move. However, neither before Roe nor in the face of recent declines in abortion availability in many states, there is currently no study that indicates that access to abortion is a major determinant of undergraduate location. It may be worth noting that In practice, teachers rarely move. Our best guess is that most transfers due to changes in legislation will not occur, but this change may cause other reasons, particularly teachers moving early in their careers, to prefer destinations that do not impose restrictions on abortion. may become. It influences the recruitment opportunities of many universities.

In summary, losing Roe seems certain to reduce black women’s college attendance in states that restrict abortion. Some universities are expected to see changes in student demand across state lines, but the scale of such changes is unknown. Various policies regarding both medical training and student health provision need to be reconsidered. And while there may be a direct impact on faculty, we expect actual faculty relocations to be relatively small, at least initially.