UNM offers students after Roe v. Wade support
Since the United States Supreme Court Roe v. Wade lifted it on June 24, women and those with wombs across the country face uncertainty. Since the verdict 44 States have banned abortion after a certain point in pregnancy, with 17 completely ban. For New Mexico, abortion is still legal at any stage of pregnancy.
University of New Mexico resource centers such as the Women’s Resource Center and the Department of Justice and Inclusion declared their support for affected people across the country and UNM students in particular.
“We are not interested in discussing the critical and life-saving nature of this human right, but even if you don’t support abortion, we support you. We know abortion can’t be stopped, but we deserve laws that make abortion safe, accessible and affordable. There is a lineage of women and people who have always provided abortions for one another. If you or someone you know needs an abortion, do not give up,” reads a expression from the WRC Instagram page.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in New York Timesthe majority of people who have had abortions are in their early to late 20s. 29% of abortion patients are aged 25-29 and 28% are aged 20-24.
Student Health and Counseling at UNM also demonstrates its support for students by combining medical services with mental health and behavioral services, according to Dr. James Wilterding, Co-Medical Director at SHAC.
“Obviously we are paying very close attention to the impact this decision has had on the students and the patient population we serve, and we are very aware that this limited access to care poses a threat to individuals,” Wilterding said.
While SHAC does not perform medical or surgical abortions, Wilterding says they offer other comprehensive reproductive health services in addition to a full range of contraceptive services and counseling. SHAC can also help direct female students who are confronted with pregnancy to prenatal care and help them find the right care. Wilterding acknowledged the influx of patients New Mexico is facing, leading to challenges for local people and increased wait times.
To further assist students, SHAC coordinates ongoing collaboration with the Dean of Studies, WRC and other resource centers to lower the barriers to supervision, primarily for students but also for faculty.
The WRC supports pregnant people and those who are not planning to become pregnant by operating a counseling center that enables individuals to manage any type of trauma, particularly gender-based trauma, and receive confidential support and resource navigation, according to Áine McCarthy, interim director at the WRC.
“WRC has always been like an incubator for students, ideas and initiatives,” said McCarthy. “We are here to listen and to support.”
Despite hatred from anti-abortion students and parents, the WRC only wants to provide better access for students to receive proper health care.
“We’re not an agency that takes a political stance, but we also know that throughout the history of feminism, personal choices are always political,” McCarthy said. “We will always personally support students on their way when they come to us.”
The WRC will welcome students with new staff and more programs where students can share their stories and receive non-clinical advice in the fall.
For the upcoming semester, SHAC has also added three mental health counselors, thanks to additional funding from the university. In addition to providing resources for students, SHAC is also committed to an equitable healthcare system that works for everyone.
“We have very clear public health data, epidemiological data showing that reducing access to abortion is not actually reducing abortions. It just creates very unsafe situations that threaten the health of those who may be pregnant,” Wilterberg said.
SHAC will also offer emergency contraception without a prescription from a medical provider for qualifying students at UNM Pharmacy. Those who don’t can access an alternative through a clinic appointment.
Both the WRC and SHAC provide counseling and guidance on accessing abortion care for students wishing to terminate their pregnancy.
Annya Loya is a freelance reporter at Daily Lobo. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @annyaloya