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Abortion Access Is Important

By , Contributors Originally Published: January 11, 2024 Revised: January 24, 2024

Distraught. Disturbed. Distressed. These are words used by teens to describe how they feel about the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

It can still feel hard to believe that the U.S. Supreme Court made this decision. In June 2022, the reversal of Roe ended almost 50 years of the right to a safe and legal abortion in the U.S. This attack on reproductive rights immediately impacted those of reproductive age, including teens, across the country. Depending on where you live, abortion access has become severely restricted.

While abortion access will likely continue to change in the U.S., there’s hope for young people to get the access they may need.

New Restrictions

Immediately after the reversal of Roe, several states implemented laws banning or restricting abortion access. Among these states, some have exceptions for cases of rape, incest or if the life of the pregnant person is in danger. But even these are not guaranteed. For instance, a person could know that their pregnancy has serious issues and that there is no way for a fetus to survive but their state will still require them to be in active and serious medical distress before an abortion can be completed.

Some states have no exceptions and have banned abortion altogether.

Many states have also set gestational limits. This means that pregnant people can only access an abortion within a set number of weeks into their pregnancy. But often, people are not even aware of their pregnancy this early on.

For instance, some states OK an abortion before six weeks of pregnancy (which means six weeks from the first day of the last period, not six weeks since conception). Many people have no idea they are pregnant at that point.

Teens React

Teens are upset. “What disturbed me the most was contemplating the implications for countless [people] who were previously protected,” says Mehr (she/her), 19, of Los Angeles. “They’re now faced with the distressing choice of either carrying out a pregnancy against their will or resorting to unsafe alternatives to terminate it.”

Even teens living in states with abortion access are worried about people in states without. “I immediately thought of my family friends in Texas, who would be directly affected by this ruling,” says Paige (she/her), 17, of Hillsborough, NJ. “I do not plan on going to college in any states with anti-abortion laws,” she adds. “I took that into consideration when making my list.”

Speaking of college, these developments may impact people wanting to travel or move to states with restrictions in place. “Overturning Roe v. Wade made me feel less comfortable being an out-of-state college student,” says Vivian (she/her), 19, of Tucson, AZ. “Moving to a conservative state, I wasn’t sure how bad abortion access could get.”


Just because abortions are restricted doesn’t mean that people won’t still need them. “If people don’t have the ability to get safe and accessible abortions, they’ll rely on unsafe methods to terminate a pregnancy,” says Mehr. “This disproportionately affects impoverished and marginalized communities, who may be unable to afford alternative options or have the ability to go to another state with better healthcare. Criminalizing abortion does not reduce its occurrence; instead, it heightens the risks.”

Just because abortions are restricted doesn’t mean that people won’t still need them.

Well said. People who are already vulnerable may become more so without access to this healthcare. “It’s important to have access to abortion because some people are not financially stable enough to have a child and having a child could actually push them into an economic crisis,” says Samantha (she/her), 19, of Lancaster, PA. “Also, some people don’t want a child for personal reasons and that is important, too. Regardless, it should be [their] right to choose.”

Abortion as an Option

When dealing with an unintended pregnancy, options include abortion, adoption or parenting.

It’s important to address why a pregnant person may choose to get an abortion. “Giving birth to another human being is a lot of responsibility and is a difficult process, during and after birth,” says Tori (she/her), 17, of Piscataway, NJ. “There are a multitude of reasons why abortion access is crucial.”

Anyone who decides to have an abortion has their own valid reasons. A few examples include being in an unsafe relationship, pregnancy-related health risks—like ectopic pregnancies (when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes, and the fetus cannot survive)—or simply not wanting or ready to be a parent at the time of pregnancy (or at all). Young people may choose to end a pregnancy because they aren’t emotionally or financially prepared to be a reliable parent or because they have other goals they want to achieve first, like finishing school or achieving financial stability. “It’s important for people with a uterus to be able to make a decision for themselves,” says Aleksandr (he/him), 17, of Lawrence Township, NJ. “We should not have to live in fear of birthing a child we do not want/cannot have at the moment.”

It’s OK to feel conflicted or uneasy when making this choice and it’s OK not to feel this way. Seeking support from health care providers and people you trust can be helpful. At the end of the day, you should be able to make the choice that is best for you, but unfortunately, that is not always an easy thing to do.

Expanding Abortion Access

Not all hope is lost! Despite the fact that some states have put restrictions in place, other states have been working to expand abortion access with new laws and policies.

Here are some of the ways states are protecting abortions:

1. Reducing Costs

Several states have decided to reduce financial barriers by making abortions more affordable. Depending on the state, this can look like removing copayments and insurance expenses, allocating money to sexual health clinics and even creating an abortion fund within the state budget.

2. Constitutional Amendments

Some states have recognized abortion as a reproductive right by amending their state constitutions to include protections for abortion. It’s difficult to remove additions to the constitution, even when new members of government are elected.

3. Protecting Abortion Providers and Travelers

To combat states that have banned abortion, many other states have made laws protecting abortion providers from being sued in other states. These ensure that people who need to travel out of state for a safe and legal abortion can do so.


An additional way to support reproductive rights is to back comprehensive sex education! The more young people know about pregnancy prevention in the first place, the more they can avoid unintended pregnancy.

“Teach proper sex ed to avoid pregnancy as much as possible and let us individually make our decisions!” says Karla (they/she), 17, of Lawrenceville, NJ.

The Landscape Is Still Changing

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed or confused about this topic. But there are things you can do and resources to help you stay informed as the landscape shifts.

For instance, using contraceptives significantly reduces the risk of unintended pregnancy. Keep in mind that the only contraceptive to prevent both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections is a condom (both internal and external). In terms of other contraceptives, LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives) like intrauterine contraceptives (IUCs but commonly known as an IUDs) and the implant are great options because there is no user error and they last for years.

The next thing is to keep updated on your state’s abortion laws. The Guttmacher Institute has a full list of state by state legislations.

Finally, make sure to vote if you are 18 or over! That is how we can change these limitations.

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