Gen Z on new college and career plans in post-Roe America

There are endless factors that students should consider when choosing a college. Size, cost, campus life, proximity to home, etc.

But since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision in June, it has rescinded nearly 50 years of federal protections against abortion, giving states the right to outlaw the proceedings in their jurisdictions. Access to abortion has become an increasingly influential consideration in student college decisions. .

Thirty-nine percent of students planning to enroll in an undergraduate program within the next 12 months said the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would have an impact. Their decision to attend college in a particular state. That’s according to a BestColleges survey of 1,000 current and prospective undergraduate and graduate students, conducted in July.

Similarly, the overturn of the Roe v. Wade ruling led 43% of current undergraduates to question whether they wanted to stay in the state they attended college or move elsewhere. said.

In post-Roe America, location has never been more important for college and current college students deciding where to get their degrees and build their careers.

Chaos and fear on campus: ‘It’s a really scary time’

Growing up, Lexi McKee-Hemenway and her friends in Sturgis, South Dakota exchanged horror stories about neighbors who wanted abortions but couldn’t. McKee-Hemenway recalls hearing stories of a young pregnant woman who had no access to an abortion and was kicked in the stomach by her horse in hopes of causing her miscarriage. she died from her injuries.

Stories like that terrified Mackie Hemenway and made him fight for a better home. Access to reproductive health care.

Currently studying political science at the University of South Dakota, the 21-year-old is president of the USD Students for Reproductive Rights.

The Supreme Court decision to overturn Law in June comes more than 15 years before South Dakota legislators passed an abortion ban that would outlaw the procedure unless it was necessary to save the life of a pregnant person. became a trigger for

McKee-Hemenway said several students have asked for help with abortions since the new school year began. She will move to the United States after graduating from college in 2024.

“There is nothing more disturbing than seeing the fear of losing your job or being unloved by your parents if you have an abortion,” she says. “But that’s the reality of how people think and feel about abortion here.”

South Dakota has always had laws restricting abortions, but June marked the first time the procedure was almost completely banned.

“There are so many complex emotions: anger, fear, disappointment,” says Mackie Hemenway. “But most of all, I’m having a hard time accepting the fact that this is the United States of America right now….It’s a really scary time to live here.”

Access to abortion ‘dominates’ college search conversation

Some college counselors see more and more high school students factoring state laws into college decisions amid growing concerns among high school students and their families about the abortion situation in college towns across the United States.

Kathleen Moore, founder of Vox Cambridge College Consulting LLC, says one of her advisors, a football player, recently turned down an athletic scholarship to attend a competitive school in South Carolina. . .

“He told me he wouldn’t consider going to school there for ethical reasons,” Moore told CNBC Make It. “It’s not a decision that students make lightly.”

Lexi McKee Hemenway and Kaishea Kohler at an event hosted by USD Students for Reproductive Rights.

Photo: Lexi McKee-Hemenway

Moore has been helping students navigate the college admissions process for eight years. Before the court’s ruling in June, she said her students and their families “rarely” discussed the school’s stance on reproductive rights and access to abortion in the state.

But now, “it dominates the topic,” says Moore.

“They want to know the state laws that apply to them, what statements school leaders make about sexual and reproductive rights, and how sexual and reproductive health care is available near campus. I want to know if I can,” she says. “These are all questions that almost no one asked me before Roe was overthrown….This is a big change.”

“I felt like a second-class citizen the moment Roe flipped over.”

Sam Goldstein always dreamed of living the “traditional college life” he saw on his favorite TV show. He attended a big college with a sprawling campus, football games in the fall, Have a party in the beer-soaked basement.

She fell in love on her first visit to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and enrolled in 2019 as a Political Science major.

Goldstein planned to stay in Wisconsin after graduation to pursue a master’s degree in public policy, but Law was overturned.

In June, those plans “went out the window,” Goldstein said, when a near-total abortion ban from the 1800s came into effect in Wisconsin after the court’s ruling.

The 21-year-old was in the office of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, finishing up a summer internship, when the news broke. “I turned to her friend and said, ‘Are you kidding?'”

In the weeks after Law’s death, Goldstein says he often walked past throngs of pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the State Capitol. about the judgment.

Harvard freshmen will rally to defend abortion rights at Harvard Yard on May 4, 2022.

Erin Clarke | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Goldstein decided he could not stay in Wisconsin for two more years to complete his master’s degree. Now, after graduation, she plans to move to Washington, DC and apply for a program there.

“I’m a full-fledged Wisconsin resident. I pay taxes, I vote here, I work here, and I love my school,” she says. “But the moment Law flipped over, I felt like she had become a second-class citizen overnight… I can’t stay here.”

“Do you want me to stay in America?”

Sydney Burton spends many afternoons walking around the campus of the University of Georgia daydreaming about what life will be like after college. He found a creative job he loved in Atlanta, rented an apartment near downtown, and visited his mother on weekends. .

Then came Dobbs’ decision, and Georgia reinstated its abortion ban after about six weeks of pregnancy in July.

Barton, a senior who studies art and advertising, says the news “completely derailed” her plans to stay in the South after college.

“The day Law was flipped, I could feel everyone panicking,” the 21-year-old said. “It made me question everything, whether I wanted to continue building my life in Georgia or whether I wanted to stay in America.”

Having “complete autonomy” to make decisions about her body is non-negotiable for her, Burton says. , is “impossible to achieve”.

“It’s an incredibly difficult decision,” Burton says of figuring out where to live and work in the months ahead. But on the other hand, what if you need an abortion and can’t get it?”

She continues:

check out:

‘We are drowning in despair’: How three doctors are navigating post-Roe America’s chaos

Turning Down a $300,000 Job, Postponing Austin’s Dreams: How Roe’s End Will Change Career Plans and Lives for Millennials

Roe said 34% of young workers are considering a career change because of their company’s stance on abortion

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