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Christina Christie: Reproductive Rights and Higher Education

By Joanie Harmon
pro-choice rally with US Capitol in background

Wasserman Dean writes op-ed with Eileen Strempel, inaugural dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, on the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 


Wasserman Dean Christina (Tina) Christie and Eileen Strempel, inaugural dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, have written an op-ed on the impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as published in Inside Higher Ed. 

“Those of us in the California higher education community support reproductive rights, and at this critical juncture we must pause and reflect upon what this means for women and their right to educational access nationwide,” Christie and Strempel write. “As mothers and as educators, we understand what is at stake.

“Nearly 60 percent of America’s college students are women, and without access to safe reproductive health care, their admission, enrollment and graduation becomes that much more precarious.”

Strempel and Christie point out that more than half of women who opt for abortion are in their 20s and are likely to be pursuing higher education, citing studies that show one in seven who had an abortion did so to continue their education. They also emphasize that the Supreme Court ruling will impact less privileged women of color and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. 

“The writer Sheelah Kolhatkar recently summarized what is at stake by describing the effects of the legalization of abortion in the 1970s: ‘Women who were able to delay motherhood through legal access to abortion were much more likely to finish college, pursue higher degrees, spend longer in the labor force, and enter higher-paying occupations; they were much less likely to fall into poverty later in life,’” state Christie and Strempel. “This comes at a time when parent students are already struggling with astounding levels of basic needs around food and housing insecurity, challenges the pandemic has only exacerbated.

“Despite the hopeful stories, only 8 percent of single mothers who enroll in college manage to earn a degree within six years. Put another way, 92 percent of single-mother students do not graduate with a life-transforming, income-enhancing credential. Without access to safe and affordable access to abortion, career options are largely erased for our society’s most vulnerable citizens.”

To read, “Abortion Decision Takes Aim at College Students,” visit the Inside Higher Ed website.