University of Massachusetts Amherst will offer students abortion medication on campus beginning next fall, local outlet WWLP reported Thursday.
According to WWLP’s report, the university already provided “some” services related to abortion, including offering referrels and “linking” students to abortion providers in the region. Additionally, UMass Amherst reportedly offers transportation to abortion clinics and conducts the abortion follow-up exam at the school’s health center.
“Starting in the fall of 2022, the University will skip the middleman and offer the abortion pill directly to students,” WWLP’s report stated.
UMass Amherst Spokesman Ed Blaguszewski told the outlet in a statement that “student demand” drove the decision.
“The UMass Amherst campus has a longstanding commitment to providing quality, respectful and confidential gynecological and reproductive health services. Currently, a UMass Amherst student seeking a medical abortion pill is referred by our on-campus health clinic to a regional hospital or an affiliated provider. We offer students transportation to and from the appointment to the medical provider, as we do for any student seeking a procedure not offered by the university. We also offer to schedule a follow-up appointment for a gynecological exam at the campus health clinic after the medical abortion pill is taken.
The campus has heard from students that they want access to the medically prescribed drug. Because of the notable distance to providers from the Amherst campus, and because the campus already offers extensive gynecological and reproductive care to students, UMass Amherst plans to offer the medical abortion pill to students on site at our University Health Services clinic in fall 2022.”
A report from Boston.com notes that Democratic state lawmakers are currently sponsoring legislation that would make abortion services more accessible for college students by requiring public universities to provide medication abortion services at student health centers.
Democratic State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa told the outlet that the bill is “really a healthcare infrastructure bill” and that “we really take the position that if you are providing medication abortion, you have the equipment and the training necessary to better provide maternal health care on campus, you have the ability to provide better reproductive loss health care on campus.”