Student gov. sets abortion pills, reproductive health as next priorities

Students gathered at a reproductive rights forum hosted by the student government on Tuesday, Feb. 21 to voice concerns about the availability of abortions and emergency contraception on campus.


Sheridan Smith

Students attend an abortion access forum organized by NYU’s student government. (Sheridan Smith for WSN)

Graylin Lucas, Contributing Writer

Students voiced their concerns about reproductive justice and sexual health on campus at a abortion access forum on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The event was hosted by the health and wellness committee of NYU’s student government. Members of the committee plan to use student feedback from the event to give direction to a resolution on abortion access, which will be voted on in March. 

The committee hopes to use the resolution to introduce abortion pills to the Student Health Center. It also plans to establish a task force of students and faculty to evaluate student needs and improve university reproductive health care policies, according to committee member Aarna Dixit.

At the forum, which was held at the Kimmel Center for University Life, many students said that they would appreciate it if NYU would provide access to more forms of reproductive health care, such as free elective abortions. NYU senior Francesca Seni Pardo said she is concerned about students being charged for abortion pills.

“I think getting abortion access on campus is just the logical extension of just any general sexual or reproductive health care,” Pardo said. “It’s about meeting student needs, and I think if NYU already takes that step to provide free condoms in residential halls and free STD testing for all students, regardless of insurance, then this is the logical extension of providing the care necessary for the students here.”

An NYU spokesperson recently told WSN that the university is considering getting the SHC certified to provide abortion pills for students. The spokesperson also said that NYU hopes to improve abortion coverage under Wellfleet, the company that NYU partners with to provide insurance plans to its students. Wellfleet fully covers medically-necessary abortions, but charges a 20% copay for elective abortions. NYU currently refers students seeking abortions to third-party providers.

Wellfleet’s abortion coverage has long been criticized by students, especially following the overturning of Roe v. Wade — which ensured a federal right to an abortion — in June. A group of 70 students walked out of classes in protest of abortion access on campus in October, four months after the verdict.

Also in October, Barnard College announced that it will provide students with abortion pills by fall 2023, making it the only university in New York City to do so.

Students also discussed a federal case that may overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, the abortion pill included in the student government’s resolution, and is expected to be decided on Feb. 24. Student senator Lamisa Khan said she hopes NYU will respond to students’ demands on the issue.

“The reproductive climate is changing everyday,” Khan said. “NYU has an obligation to its students to provide the best access they can.”

Contact Graylin Lucas at [email protected].