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Tulane professor: Schools should train students to be abortion activists

Louisiana school offers ‘reproductive rights’ internships with Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood

A Tulane University professor said she believes higher education institutions should do more than just educate students about human reproduction and abortion.

Clare Daniel, an administrative associate professor of women’s leadership at Tulane, wrote at Ms. Magazine that universities should be actively involved in training students to advocate for abortion and other reproductive rights issues.

“For many college students in the United States, especially those in abortion-ban states, the recent restrictions on abortion access have created a drive to get involved in reproductive health—but many universities are simply not doing enough to support students in these efforts,” Daniel wrote with co-author and graduate student Grace Riley last week.

Daniel and Riley urged universities to create internship programs similar to one already operating at Tulane, which pairs students with groups like Planned Parenthood and the Feminist Majority Foundation, as well as feminist activists like Gloria Steinem, to work toward “gender equity.”

Daniel runs the internship program, and also serves as a curator of the Feminist Pedagogy for Teaching Online Guide, an initiative by scholars to provide “resources about integrating feminist pedagogy and technology into online, hybrid, and traditional undergraduate courses.”

These programs “cultivate well-rounded, socially conscious graduates,” and have a ripple effect on society by “fostering community partnerships, raising awareness and ultimately contributing to the advancement of reproductive justice on a larger scale,” they wrote.

Daniel and Riley said encouraging student abortion advocacy is especially important for higher education institutions because about 60 percent of their students are women and about 28 percent of abortions are done on college-age women age 20 to 24. They continued:

“Ensuring that students have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare—including sex education, contraception, abortion and prenatal/postpartum services—is essential for the overall well-being of students and universities alike.

“Reproductive rights are also a retention and recruitment issue: Between 2003 and 2013, about 61 percent of U.S. community college students who had children after enrolling in college did not finish their education, research shows.”

“By offering programs that empower students, universities not only align themselves with their students’ values, but foster professional skills and career development, giving students an advantage on the job market,” they wrote.

However, students’ views about the morality and legalization of abortion vary greatly, and most colleges and universities already have clubs doing advocacy work on the issue.

Many students believe aborting unborn babies is wrong, as is evidenced by the 1,400 pro-life clubs affiliated with Students for Life of America. These clubs focus solely on advocating for the right to life of unborn babies and resources for pregnant and parenting students, but there also are hundreds of other conservative student clubs that advocate against abortion along with other issues.

Quite a few universities also have pro-choice clubs that advocate for abortion and birth control, but an exact number is difficult to find.

MORE: Institute teaches pro-life students to have productive dialogue with pro-choicers

IMAGE: Yuri Arcus/Peopleimages.com

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.