New York Will Require Medication Abortion Access on College Campuses

New York is the third state behind Massachusetts and California to require public institutions to provide access to the abortion pill.
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Margaret Attridge is a news reporter for BestColleges focusing on higher education news stories in California. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2022 with a BA in journalism and government and politics....
Published on May 9, 2023
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  • New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill that will require public universities to provide access to medication abortion drugs.
  • The legislation will extend to all 89 campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) systems.
  • Massachusetts and California have also passed legislation to require public campuses to ensure college students have access to medication abortion.

New York will become the third state in the country to require access to medication abortion for students on public college campuses.

Gov. Kathy Hochul last week signed Senate Bill S1213B requiring that all 89 campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) systems provide this access to their students.

Colleges will have to either contract directly with authorized individuals who can prescribe medication abortion pills or refer students to providers authorized to prescribe abortion medication drugs, according to the bill’s text.

"College-age individuals are within the age group most likely to seek abortion care," the governor said in a press release. "This legislation would ensure that public university students have meaningful access to medication abortion prescription drugs in the places where they live, work, and spend their free time."

Hochul's office also projected that expanded access to abortion on campus may reduce the demand local clinics face throughout the state, especially in rural areas.

New York's legislation will go into effect on Aug. 1, 2023, and all campuses will be required to submit a report on how they are complying with the law, including if they provide access to medication abortion on campus or provide referrals and how many people are authorized to prescribe such prescription drugs on their campus, in 2025.

New York is not the only state to require public institutions to provide access to medication abortion. Both California and Massachusetts have passed legislation with similar requirements

In 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill requiring all University of California and California State University campuses to offer access to medication abortion services. As of Jan. 1, 2023, all 33 public university campuses across the state now offer medication abortion care for students.

Last July, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a similar bill. Like California, Massachusetts' legislation requires that campuses in the University of Massachusetts system provide access to medication abortion on campus, either through on-campus health clinics or outside resources.

Additionally, Massachusetts' bill goes further to also include public community colleges in the mandate.

In September, BestColleges spoke with state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, a Democrat from Massachusetts' 1st Hampshire District, about the push to expand access to medication abortion on college campuses.

"I really do hope that we see states like Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, and Oregon move in this direction," she told BestColleges. "[The law] is really a way to make sure people have access [to abortion care], and I just don't think we can underestimate how important that is right now."