More than a third of college students say the Supreme Court’s abortion decision affects their college decision-making

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A new survey of current and prospective students finds significant percentages of them say the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which quashed Roe v. Wade, affects their decision-making about where to go. go to university.

The survey was conducted by BestColleges, which surveyed 1,000 current and prospective undergraduate and graduate students between July 7 and 13, 2022. , doctoral or professional degree in the next 12 months.

Respondents were asked a series of questions about their views on abortion, how the Dobbs decision affected their choices about attending college, their views on the Supreme Court, and their views on the reproductive health services colleges should provide to students.

Views on abortion

More than half of current and prospective students (59%) said they oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and more than two-thirds (69%) said they support a woman’s right to choose to support an abortion. Less than 1 in 5 students (16%) said they were not in favor of a woman’s right to abortion.

Women were more likely than men to oppose the Court’s decision (67% vs. 48%). They were also more likely than men to support a woman’s right to have an abortion (73% vs. 64%). LGBTQ+ students were more likely than students who identify as heterosexual to support a woman’s right to abortion (78% vs. 67%).

Impact on lecture attendance

Respondents were asked whether the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would affect their decision to: stay in the state where they are currently attending college or to attend university in a particular state for their undergraduate/graduate program.

  • Of the current students, 43% answered yes to this question, 45% answered no and 12% were unsure.
  • Of the current graduate students, 42% answered yes, 40% no and 17% were unsure.

While enrolled students were slightly less likely to say that the overthrow of Roe v. Wade would affect their decision to attend college in a particular state, 39% of prospective students and 35% of prospective graduates said students that this would happen.

Current students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) were more likely than white students to say that the destruction of Roe v. Wade influences their decision to remain in the state they currently attend. going to school (51% vs. 35%).

Prospective students who identify as BIPOC were also more likely than their white peers to say that the court’s recent annulment of Roe will influence their decision to attend college in a particular state (43% vs. 34% ).

More than a third of current undergraduate and graduate students (37%) said they would have gone to college in another state if the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade had come before made their choice of study.

Overall, more than two-thirds (68%) of current and prospective students said they are familiar with the abortion laws and regulations in their current state of residence, and more than half of students (57%) said they attend university in a state that legally protects the right to abortion. Only 17% of the students disagreed.

Of the students who opposed the recent Supreme Court ruling, 67% said they wanted to attend college in a state where the right to abortion is protected by law. Even among the students who supported the Supreme Court’s decision, 46% say they still want to go to school in a state where that right is protected by law. Only 29% said no.

Impact on votes

More than half of current and prospective students (59%) said overthrowing Roe v. Wade will affect their vote in the November 2022 midterm elections. Those who opposed the decision were far more likely than those who supported it to say it will affect their vote in the midterm elections (68% vs. 50%).

Confidence in Supreme Court

About a third of students (36%) said they have confidence in the Supreme Court as an institution; slightly more (39%) said no, while a quarter (25%) were neutral. Men had more confidence in the Supreme Court as an institution than women (47% vs. 28%). Students who identify as heterosexual were also significantly more likely than LGBTQ+ students to express confidence in the court as an institution (41% vs. 23%).

On-campus Reproductive Health Services Views

Three quarters (75%) of current and prospective students believe colleges should support students in accessing reproductive health services, including abortion. Only 15% disagree, while 10% are not sure. Even among the students who support the overthrow of Roe v. Wade, 70% agree that colleges should support students in accessing abortion.

Among those students who believe colleges should support students in accessing reproductive health services,

  • 58% believe colleges should improve mental health and counseling services related to abortion,
  • 57% believe that institutions should have flexible attendance policies if a student has to travel to have an abortion and/or require medical leave in connection with obtaining an abortion,
  • 53% say colleges should offer free pregnancy tests,
  • 51% believe they should provide legal support to students who need an abortion, and
  • 49% think they should offer free contraceptive services.

Whether the student self-reports revealed in this study will translate into actual vote-with-your-feet attendance decisions is as yet unknown. But the reactions do indicate the strong feelings that current and future students have about the abortion problem.

As Jessica Bryant, education analyst for BestColleges.com and the author of the research report, points out, “In addition to declining college enrollment across the country, institutions in states with laws restricting access to abortion now have a new challenge to attract.” In addition, while there is talk of the workforce considering moving to abortion-friendly states, we might see those who get an education doing just that.”

Just two days after overwhelming Kansas voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed state legislators to ban or significantly restrict abortion, these results show the extent to which abortion advice — especially among those who support a woman’s right to to choose – to all kinds of consequences, both on and off campus.

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