By The Glacier Editorial Board
Right now as a community college student, you’re probably scrambling to finish writing an essay, completing a last big project and studying for finals. Chances are, you’re working to earn enough money for books, tuition, and even dinner at the end of the night.
You’re juggling all this for the sake of your education. Why? Because a college education opens doors. And for people born into poverty, it may be the best way out of a cycle that affects generations.
According to the national nonprofit The Education Trust, “Today, with only a high school diploma, just under half of the children born poor in America today will remain poor as adults. And even more will remain under the average. With a college degree, however, those numbers plummet to 1 in 6.”
Now imagine, on top of all of the things you’re juggling with work, obtaining your degree and maintaining some sort of social life and sanity, you are caring for an infant. Changing diapers, staying up all night with a sick child, finding child care so you can go to work or class, paying for car seats and clothing and formula and doctor’s appointments.
The potential reversal of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court is not only a threat to reproductive rights in general. It’s a threat to college students across the nation, forcing young women to waive their right to an education to learn in order to become mothers and caretakers instead.
Women who cannot support their own weight are now being forced to bring life into the world and care for a child without the resources to do so.
According to Best Colleges, more than half of the individuals seeking an abortion already fall below the poverty line. Women who cannot support their own weight are now being forced to bring life into the world and care for a child without the resources to do so. College students should not be forced against their will to take on the financial and emotional burden of bringing a new life into a world that is weighted down with increasing poverty.
An unplanned pregnancy is the most common reason for college students to drop out of college, according to a study completed last fall by sociologists Ilana Horwitz, Kaylee Matheny, and Natalie Milan, who write: “This trend was especially prevalent at community colleges, where nearly half of all students, both male and female, have experienced an unplanned pregnancy. We found that young parents often abandoned their academic pursuits to work long hours at minimum-wage jobs to provide for their children.”
The denial of access to abortion has a direct negative correlation to educational success. According to Best Colleges, out of 876 women seeking abortions, only 27 percent of those that were denied went to earn a college degree, while 71 percent of women who had an abortion went on to be college graduates.
Many young women–and men–are faced with this ultimatum between parenthood and education. With the addition of an unplanned pregnancy, a child who requires attention, food, clothing, and constant care, the door to increased generational poverty swings open.
For many young women, abortion is the only salvation from raising a child before reaching adulthood. Starting a family is a dramatic commitment and it is no surprise that these two decisions tend to strongly contradict one another.
Unfortunately, not everyone is given the option. You might be thinking, “At least Illinois will continue to be a place where abortion is a legal choice.”
But if Roe v Wade is overturned, more power will go to states, which means the Illinois Supreme Court will make decisions about abortion rights here. If the court becomes dominated by Republicans, we could see major effects on abortion laws right here.
As a community college students seeking freedom, regardless of gender, we must speak out and demand the support of reproductive rights and equal access to education. This is not just a “woman’s issue”; the overturning of Roe v. Wade threatens all free will and must be disputed now.
Protests were staged in Chicago and around the country over the weekend. Another abortion rights rally is planned for Saturday, five days before early Illinois primary voting begins. This is the time to act. Register to vote and support candidates that reflect your beliefs. Join the rallies.
Make sure your voice is heard to preserve freedom of choice–and the freedom to pursue an education that may mean the difference between poverty and opportunity.
The Glacier Editorial Board is comprised of opinion editor Rosie Finnegan, editor-in-chief Mariah Trujillo, and the section editors of The Glacier.