Whoopi Goldberg's Candid Message on Abortion

 

"I did all this shit so we wouldn't have to do it again" ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌


It's About More Than a Hijab

 

 

What Iranian women are really protesting ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌


Iranian Women Are Burning Their Hijabs

 

 

What you need to know about the protests ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌


Meet the Black Filmmakers That Changed Representation in Movies 

BY REBECCA CARROLL

“When I was a little girl, all I wanted to see was me in the media. Someone fat like me, Black like me, beautiful like me.” –Lizzo

If anyone needed a reminder of how important representation is in visual media, last week’s release of the new Little Mermaid trailer provided it. Dozens of cheerful, genuinely moving videos of little brown and Black girls, rejoicing in seeing a Black Halle Bailey as the new Ariel, hit social media—and were swiftly followed by racist backlash.


Representation matters and its absence in visual media is not because Black folks haven’t been creating it; it’s that predominantly white gatekeepers who fund and distribute film and TV have chosen to exclude Black creators. And that’s why REGENERATION: BLACK CINEMA 1898-1971, an exhibit at the Academy Museum in Los Angeles exploring seven decades of the vast canon of work created by Black American filmmakers, is so important. The exhibit is a tribute to Black filmmakers who did their work not just in the face of structural racism, but in a burgeoning industry that refused to acknowledge them. 

I sat down with Rhea Combs, the co-creator of REGENERATION and director of curatorial affairs at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, to hear about what she learned.       

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 17: Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Rhea L. Combs speaks onstage during The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and Campari Celebrate the Opening of Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971 at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on August 17, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Academy Museum of Motion Pictures )

Rebecca Carroll: This exhibition features films and visual art from nearly a century of Black filmmaking. Are there pieces that you still think about all the time?

Rhea Combs: Yes, short answer. We open it with Something Good - Negro Kiss from 1898, a 29-second work that shows Gertie Brown and Saint Suttle in this kind of playful embrace (the first documented on-screen kiss between two Black folks in film history). It’s the piece that you see when you walk in, and it's emblematic of everything that Doris Berger and I were really looking to accomplish with this exhibition. And by that, I mean: You see this juxtaposed with a Glenn Ligon Double America 2 work that’s this neon piece that has America written right-side up and then written upside-down—that kind of double consciousness of knowing someone else is looking at you, but then also doing it for yourself and doing it with such pride and such dignity and such beauty. I think Something Good - Negro Kiss embodies all of that. 

The exhibition notes describe how the groundbreaking Black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux was working in an environment where the bar for what a film should look like was D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nationwhich, as most people aware of the film know, was wildly racist. What do you think the impact of that film was on Micheaux and other Black filmmakers?

When we looked at this show and conceptualized it, we had to predate cinema and look at theater and photography, which then allows you to understand that there were these conversations around Black modernity that were happening. When you situate it within that framework, then you understand better an Oscar Micheaux. Yes, there was D.W. Griffith, [but] there were also people like Booker T. Washington and [W.E.B.] Du Bois, who were creating these really grassroots, organized protests against [Griffith’s] work.… So I think there were these kinds of social and cultural dynamics at play within the African American community that we try to address in the exhibition through showing forward thinkers like Sojourner Truth, who used photography, and Du Bois, Frederick Douglas, and Booker T. Washington. 

AGENCY, REGENERATION: BLACK CINEMA 1898-1971, ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURES. (PHOTO BY JOSHUA WHITE, JW PICTURES/ © ACADEMY MUSEUM FOUNDATION)

That is sort of a summation of Black culture—so much of the work we create is in response to what we haven't been able to do, what we haven't been able to be. Were there moments in the exhibition when it was clear that these filmmakers were creating work that was not [only] in response to the ways in which we were and are oppressed?

I think even within the spaces in which these works were shown (pop-up churches or community centers) suggest that while these social realities were happening with structural racism, I believe that filmmakers were doing this in part because they wanted to do the work. They weren't just doing it in response to

We talk a lot about the power of seeing ourselves reflected in film and TV, especially as we have been so objectified and dehumanized, right? It’s just amazing to me that we've been doing this for so long and internalizing as much as we have—both the beauty of something like Negro Kiss, and the ugliness of Birth of a Nation

We’ve been navigating. As you look through seven decades of a push, [a] pull, an ebb-and-flow of this artistic practice, you still have these moments of hope and glimmer. You have an 18-year-old Josephine Baker going from leaving after being traumatized from race riots in East St. Louis to France, not knowing how to speak French, to becoming fluent in French and becoming a spy. 

Did you say a spy

Yes, she became a spy during World War II!

I always seem to forget that.

We hope to take the visitor on a journey [in this exhibition], and to understand the complexities of not only the external world, but also the people—performers, folks in front of and behind the camera—and the complexities behind their stories. 

RACE FILMS, REGENERATION: BLACK CINEMA 1898-1971, ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURES. (PHOTO BY JOSHUA WHITE, JW PICTURES/ © ACADEMY MUSEUM FOUNDATION)

So if you wish for the visitor to go on a journey, where do they land at the end of that journey?

They land with a sense of hope, a sense of possibility, and this notion of resilience. In the culminating gallery, we showcase five filmmakers: Madeline Anderson, an independent filmmaker; documentary filmmaker William Greaves; the writer and filmmaker Robert Goodwin, whose work had been lost until recently; Gordon Parks; and Melvin Van Peebles. So you get a range of styles. You also get a sense of how the industry was shifting by the time you get to the late 60s/early 70s. At the end, you see this mantle where artists have chosen yet again to use this art form of film as an opportunity to speak about issues in a variety of ways. And I think that then leaves the visitor [with an expanded] understanding of American cinema.

And where have you landed?

Where have I landed? [laughs] I sit in this space of awe and inspiration—that through so many trials and tribulations, there were people who still found a way to create artwork that was meaningful.


Rebecca Carroll is a writer, cultural critic, and podcast creator/host. Her writing has been published widely, and she is the author of several books, including her recent memoir, Surviving the White Gaze. Rebecca is Editor at Large for The Meteor.


Questions Like “What is a woman?” Work to Divide the Left

BY CHASE STRANGIO

If you have been activated by the fall of Roe v. Wade but have failed to notice the endless onslaught of anti-trans sentiment and legislation that’s been sweeping the country, you have fallen into a well-laid trap to divide natural allies in the fight for gender justice and liberation. While the left has spent the last few years embroiled in a battle over the contours of womanhood, the right has capitalized on our willingness to fight each other to advance legislation that will curtail bodily autonomy for all of us.  

Just last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a national leader in the fight against abortion access and trans health care, made strategic use of our internal divisions by announcing his support for a “Women’s Bill of Rights to Affirm Basic Bio­log­i­cal Truths and Fight Back Against the Left’s Attempts to Rede­fine the Term ‘Woman.’”

Though he claims to be taking a stand against “the Left,” the anti-trans rhetoric he endorses was actually developed by the center-left. For at least seven years, we have been subjected to a disingenuous and, unfortunately, very destructive discourse that purports to ask, “What is a woman?”—but ultimately seeks to question the legitimacy of trans existence.

And it’s worked: The fear-mongering and concern-trolling has not only further propelled the far-right into power but has also caused some advocates for trans inclusivity in existing feminist and LGBTQ+ spaces to abandon their support for transgender people.

...the right has capitalized on our willingness to fight each other to advance legislation that will curtail bodily autonomy for all of us.  

Back in 2015, the New York Times published an op-ed from Elinor Burkett asking “What Makes a Woman?”, tied to Caitlyn Jenner coming out as trans. Burkett wrote, “I have fought for many of my 68 years against efforts to put women—our brains, our hearts, our bodies, even our moods—into tidy boxes, to reduce us to hoary stereotypes.” Somehow, looking at all the different ways sex stereotypes are deployed and weaponized in the world, Burkett points the finger, not at right-wing campaigns, not Victoria’s Secret catalogs, not dress codes or sex-separated learning, but at trans people. 

More recently, we saw the “What is a woman?” dog whistle invoked during the Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Brown Jackson, in Senate hearings on abortion access and maternal health, and again in a New York Times column by Pamela Paul decrying “The Far Right and Far Left Agree on One Thing: Women Don’t Count” just days after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs overturned Roe.

This type of rhetoric cultivates the conditions that allow for conservative activists like Matt Walsh to release his 2022 anti-trans documentary of the same name: What is a Woman? (It’s been praised by British fantasy author turned anti-trans advocate J.K. Rowling.) The more the left entertains the idea that “women” are threatened by the inclusion of trans people, the more people like Walsh and Paxton will capitalize on the precarity of gender justice solidarity to drive an SB8-sized hole in our collective rights to bodily autonomy and self-determination. 

And when trans inclusion and the overturning of Roe are seen as two sides of the same coin, “erasing women,” we all but ensure that government actors succeed in their longstanding plan to curtail all our health. At this point, it is on us—those of us who are truly committed to the fight for gender justice and liberation—to get it together. Womanhood is not a zero-sum game where one person’s inclusion limits another person’s.

What if, instead, we just accepted that our sexed bodies are more complicated and dynamic than we’ve been told—full of beautiful possibility and desire—and break down all the reductive tropes about gender that hold everyone back? 

Imagine what it would mean for our collective fight for health care, bodily autonomy, and liberation if, instead of spending our time casting people out of the categories of manhood and womanhood, we challenged the very idea that the state should get to decide who we are, what we need, and how we work together.


Chase Strangio is a lawyer and trans rights activist who lives in New York City.


"Why Are We Still Talking About Royalty?"

BY MEGAN CARPENTIER

When Queen Elizabeth II—the former Elizabeth Windsor—died last week, she received the uncomplicated veneration we bestow upon world leaders and celebrities (and the occasional person, like The Queen, who was both) upon their passings. But she was also criticized and mocked, online and off, by those whose ancestors and culture had been subject to the violent, extractive colonialism of the vast British empire.   

Those criticisms, of course, were inevitably followed by calls to not speak ill of the dead, verbal attacks on those who did, and yet further paeans to her 70 years of rule. 

A little background: When Elizabeth Windsor was born in 1926, only a handful of the colonies her family had ruled for generations—Ireland, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia—had achieved nominal independence. And by 1952, when she came to power, only India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Palestine, and Egypt had joined them. But within the 15 years of her ascension to the British throne, the empire that had at its height encompassed 25 percent of the Earth’s landmass, controlling the lives of 20 percent of its people, now consisted of just a few islands. (The largest and most populous of these was Hong Kong, which reverted to Chinese control in 1997.)

But though the dissolution of the British empire under Queen Elizabeth II is thought of as peaceful in the popular Western imagination, in many places it was far from an orderly, non-violent handover of power. For instance, mere months after Elizabeth II took the throne, British forces began a nearly decade-long campaign to suppress an independence movement in Kenya, which they referred to as the “Mau Mau uprising.” Recent research has shown this campaign involved the mass detention of 1.5 million Kenyans, most of whom belonged to the Kikuyu ethnic group, and a systematic process of torture, forced labor, rape, and murder that the British government covered up for decades.

The British government still holds documents from 37 other former colonies in still-secret archives that are reportedly similar to the ones that proved their involvement in the “Mau Mau uprising” in Kenya.

Nonetheless, the Queen never apologized for the abuses of colonization, and there have been calls—long-standing and recent—for the British government to do so, and to provide reparations to countries damaged by extractivist colonialist policies and reconsider the role the British monarchy should have (if any) in the 21st century and beyond.

To talk through some of these questions, The Meteor turned to the people whose lives and ancestors were affected by British colonial policies about why there is both criticism and admiration of Queen Elizabeth II—and what her death represents.

“...if the British had found diamonds here, we probably wouldn't be independent now.”

–Tshepo Mokoena, London-based journalist and editor, originally from Botswana

The running joke in my family in Botswana was always that, if the British had found diamonds here, we probably wouldn't be independent now. But we gained independence from the British in 1966; the diamonds were discovered in 1967. [The mining company is jointly owned by the Botswana government.] The diamond money was used to fund public services and public health, which was very important as the HIV crisis hit Botswana in the 1990s.

There was a sense that we happened to time the discovery of the mines quite well, whereas in South Africa—where the mines were found early—there was that constant tug-of-war between the British and the Dutch. And it created centuries of a back-and-forth of European powers trying to control South Africa's resources.

Today I would say that the monarchy feels very distant from Botswana, because it is a small, landlocked country where there is not a strong remnant of white settlers. Besides some leftover rituals around Christmas and Christianity, you don't tend to feel much of that connection to Britain, and especially not to the royal family as an institution.

“But by and large, the reaction [among Indians] has been almost like losing any other beloved celebrity who was like this grandmotherly figure.”

–Rohit Kulkarni, D.C.-based former journalist, originally from India

Currently, whether in Bollywood, among the cricketers from India, or in [Indian] society in general, there is a lot of empathy and sympathy for the royal family, and they really appreciate what the Queen did. She was a chief guest for the India Republic Day celebrations in 1961; there were at least a million people who stood on the roads in New Delhi to say hello to her. The second time she visited was in November 1983, when she met with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for the Commonwealth Leaders meeting. 

Queen Elizabeth II of England and Mrs Indira Gandhi at Rashtrapati Bhavan in India during the Queen's Commonwealth Tour. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

She visited for the third time in 1997 (I had just graduated high school and started college) and was supposed to visit the site of one of the biggest British massacres during the regime, which happened in the state of Punjab at a place called Jallianwala Bagh. People asked her to apologize, but she gave a speech the day before she visited in which she spoke about the dark past and how we cannot rewrite the history.

There is a whole generation of people who really don't know much about the dark history and have never witnessed a royal visit, but for whom there has been this fascination with the British royals as just celebrities. At the same time, you'll also see a reaction like, “It's 2022, people. Why are we still talking about royalty? And especially a person who belonged to the family that butchered and massacred our country and destroyed our social fabric.” 

But by and large, the reaction [among Indians] has been almost like losing any other beloved celebrity who was like this grandmotherly figure.

“For Irish people, what [the Queen] represents is just so beyond toxic.”

–Sadhbh Walshe, New York-based writer and screenwriter, originally from Ireland

For Irish people, what she represents is just so beyond toxic. And partly that's just this whole idea of the empire and all of that. But I think at the moment what really, really jumps out at me—and what I think some other people feel—is in reaction to the idea that she presided over this period of stability and so on with her great service. And yet, Britain is in the worst state it's ever been; the country is coming apart at the seams. The health services are falling apart, various labor unions are on strike, the ports are a complete mess, the airlines are a mess, ordinary people are literally choosing between food and heat

This is all happening under “the great stable presence”—and while she and her family have relentlessly enriched themselves at the expense of the general public. She's managed to procure personalized exemptions from more than 160 laws, and some of the things are really questionable: She secured immunity from anti-discrimination laws and from standard workers' rights related to benefits, to pensions, to compensation, [and] working hours. 

Looking at that as an Irish person, I just don't know how ordinary Britons can put up with it. 

Banner carrying demonstrators take part in a march through Belfast in protest over the Queen's Silver Jubilee visit to Northern Ireland. The march, organised by Sinn Fein, turned into a violent confrontation between demonstrators and security forces. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

One nice thing: She did visit Ireland in 2011. For all of my childhood, no member of the royal family set foot in Ireland. But she was terrific on that visit. She did all the right things. She expressed “sincere thoughts and deep sympathy” for those who died in the troubles—though the British government has trouble sometimes taking responsibility for its actions—and went to the memorial for the Bloody Sunday victims. I think it really did advance the cause of Irish and British relations.

“The British monarchy is being given a moment—an opportunity—to do something different from its history of pillaging, from its exploitation and oppression of communities of color, beginning with the continent of Africa, all of the Caribbean, India, [and] Asia.”

–Staceyann Chin, poet, actor and activist from Jamaica

Jamaica was once under British rule. [Since 1962] we've become a country in which we have elections [but] the queen is the “head of state,” [even though] Jamaica is not a colony of Britain. We still bow and scrape to her, and when she visits, we still pull out the pomp and ceremony. We still have to get her permission, her blessing, on the things that we're doing with regard to government and leadership. But we have been removed from the list of people who could [visit without a visa]; we were removed from the space where we could become citizens once the British economy grew and their social welfare got better.

What it feels like to me, as a Jamaican citizen, is we still are indebted to England, but England is no longer responsible for us. Essentially, we have no rights as subjects of the queen, but then she gets to say, "These are my subjects." 

I think that we should do away with that. The British monarchy is being given a moment—an opportunity—to do something different from its history of pillaging, from its exploitation and oppression of communities of color, beginning with the continent of Africa, all of the Caribbean, India, [and] Asia. I think that Charles is being given an opportunity to do something with his life, to do something to distinguish himself. A rather radical, rather unprecedented opportunity, a giant moment to do something different with this institution that has brought so much pain to so many people on the planet.


Megan Carpentier is currently an editor at Oxygen.com and a columnist at Dame Magazine; she's also worked at NBC News, The Guardian, and Jezebel, among other places. Her work has been published in Rolling Stone, Glamour, The New Republic, the Washington Post, and many more.


Queen Elizabeth's Complicated Legacy

 

 

There is no one way to process her death. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌


It's Been Ten Years Since Steubenville

Author and filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman on how far we have and haven't come since the rape case that changed everything.

Content Warning: Sexual assault. Please consider your mental health before reading.

Ten years ago this month, a young woman was sexually assaulted by a group of high school athletes in Steubenville, Ohio. The girl, who was unconscious, had been transported, stripped of her clothes, and digitally assaulted (meaning the assailants used their hands). Later there would be undeniable evidence: texts and posts on social media in which perpetrators documented, and even bragged, about the horrific acts that took place that night. Two of those students, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, both 16 at the time, were convicted of rape. 

Steubenville was a turning point in how we talk about sexual assault and rape culture. It was the first sexual assault case to go viral on social media, sparking major online activism in response. Nancy Schwartzman, a filmmaker and a writer, has followed this case since the beginning, first making a documentary about the town, and most recently publishing Roll Red Roll, a book about the incident. The New York Times called it a “meticulous account” of what happened that night and the culture that allowed for it.

This week, I talked to Nancy about the film, the book, and what she learned from all of it. 

Samhita Mukhopadhyay: Why were you initially drawn to investigating the Steubenville rape case? 

Nancy Schwartzman: I had already been examining issues of consent in my first film, The Line—what is coercive consent, what is enthusiastic consent, etc. And by the end of having so many conversations with young people about the topic, what became very important, I thought, for us to all be looking at was perpetrator behavior. 

[Sexual assault was talked about] very much like the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial. The victim is scrutinized: her behavior, her alcohol levels, her outfit, her prior sexual conduct. For me, what was just never discussed, and actually where the problem was: “What are the conditions that enable sexual assault to run rampant, and what are the behaviors we should be looking out for?” 

When Steubenville broke, [at first] I thought, “Nothing about this is new.” But when I started looking into it more closely, all of the text messages and social media were public. And it was a script of how these guys were talking about the victim, how they were planning it in advance, and how they were egging each other on. So all of a sudden, we had a window into perpetrator behavior.

It’s hard to remember now, but Steubenville was one of the first big sexual assault cases where social media and the internet played a huge role. That’s why it garnered so much national attention, right?

Yeah, the Times also didn't break the story; Rachel Dissell in Cleveland started reporting on it. And what was happening was more about how this was dividing the town, and then [the hacker group Anonymous got involved] to get more global media attention. That's what caught the New York Times’ eye. I remember when I first went to Steubenville and sent some pictures to people like, "I'm here, I'm here,” someone was like, “Whoa, Steubenville, that town from the internet.” It was the first time the internet world and what we call brick-and-mortar collided.

Going to talk to older people [in the town], it was this fascinating generational divide. A 70-year-old man who runs the appliance shop and volunteers at Fort Steuben, the historical fort, he was just like, “These people, they came in with masks, these people from the internet.” So the internet “invaded” this town, they [came] in with a threatening message and their faces covered in a mask, and then people actually showed up on the courthouse stairs. It was also interesting that the people who showed up were from the town, so they got to benefit from the anonymity of Anonymous—from the fact that the outside world was saying “Yo, what's going on in your town is fucked up." People could agree quietly after years of being silenced, or going along with it, or not even knowing there's an alternative way possible. 

Historic Fort Steuben in Ohio. (Photo by: John Greim/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Yeah, that is super interesting. One of the things that you’ve explored in the book is the culture that creates sexual assault. Many of these people in the town were upset about the attention the case was getting and felt that the whole thing was overblown. So can you talk about some of those circumstances a little bit, some of those contexts that you were referring to?

Most people I spoke with, including [a lovely man who owned a big family-owned store], would acknowledge, “Well, what happened was bad.” Everybody categorically agreed that it was bad. So aside from the negative attention, they were horrified. I think one of the things folks didn’t understand... I mean, [the store owner] cornered me in his shop and put his fingers in my face and was like, “Digital, it was digital penetration, it was digital.”

Oh my God.

I know. So I think there was a wild misunderstanding of assault in all its forms. And the [digital penetration] was one detail of the case that was eminently provable in court, but there was a lot of stuff that pointed to other sexual misconduct. So there was a physical minimizing of the actual harm, which was obviously a problem. There was also this question of: “If someone is blacked out, how bad can it be?” So there was a wild misunderstanding there.

The people that I really was the most frightened of, in a way, were the mothers of sons. In all of my screenings, I was like, “Oh, shit, there's a bunch of dads in the back, and there's a bunch of men." I called the men in to be my allies. They're in locker rooms, they know, they grew up in this environment and were like, “Yep, I know this behavior, this is familiar to me, this is not good. I have a daughter or a son, and I don't want him in trouble.” [But] it was the mothers of sons that were fiercely protective. “Not my baby,” and “She must have done something.” I just did not expect this level of obstacle with that demographic.

Why do you think that is?

I don't know. I’m not a parent, and I don’t have a son. I think a mother's love for her son... Well, I think in the big picture, this is a place that is really, really, really steeped in patriarchal tradition. The book covers the history of the mills: The men are working, and the women are at home. There aren’t any places for women to go. There's a really strong separate-sphere ideology. Men are at the mill; women are at home. Mill's closed, men are on the football field, boys are on the field, girls are cheerleaders. There were no women on the city council; it's a very, very Catholic town. There are no women in leadership in the clergy. I mean, it was alarming, across the board.

When we’re thinking about moms protecting their sons, mommies generally love their little boys, and their little boys are perfect. If they do something wrong, it’s someone else's fault. I saw that growing up in my town. The way that gender roles play out, it's wildly unsafe to be a young woman or a queer person in that town.

I think a lot of people in the “#MeToo era” are talking about the limits of the criminal justice system in sexual assault. Steubenville is a rare case where perpetrators were convicted. There was some sense of justice through the criminal justice system, and that's because there was so much documented evidence that you could not ignore it. But what was your learning and takeaway from that? And what happened to the boys after they were convicted? 

My book has a whole section about transformational justice and different models for justice. For most of us, we get no justice. I talked to Aya Gruber, who’s an amazing feminist criminologist. So often, the burden of “What should be done?” is on the victim. Like, “Well, it's your obligation to report because he could do it to someone else.” You know what? It's not my obligation to do anything because the criminal justice system is so dangerous for women, it's dangerous for people of color, and it's unreliable. It's not a space for justice. The burden should not be on our shoulders to do something.

But the boys were sentenced: Trent was sentenced to two years in juvenile detention, Ma'Lik was sentenced to nine months, and Ma'Lik got out and finished high school. There was a big ripple of anger because he was brought back onto the football team, and that divided the town. People were like, "Hey, football is a privilege; it's not a right. He should be let back into school, but this was the environment that led him to get caught up in something like gang rape. What about the football team has changed to ensure this doesn't happen?" The coach had said, “He did his time. I believe in second chances.” But they didn't bring anything onto the team to ensure that thinking and behavior changed. That was a missed opportunity, big time. 

I think what I really wanted folks to understand is that it's not... Every survivor doesn’t have to become a fucking activist. And you're doing nothing wrong if you're a survivor and you decide not to report to the police, because reporting to the police is a dangerous act that might not be in your best interest.


Samhita Mukhopadhyay is a writer, editor, and speaker. She is the former Executive Editor of Teen Vogue and is the co-editor of Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance and Revolution in Trump's America and the author of Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life, and the forthcoming book, The Myth of Making It

PHOTO BY HEATHER HAZZAN


Grieving Princess Diana Let Me Mourn My Brother

 

 

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I Asked 61 Colleges If They Would Pay for Students to Travel for an Abortion. Only Five Hinted That They Might.

BY TALIA KANTOR LIEBER

On the morning that Roe v. Wade fell, I turned to my father and declared I would not be attending college in a state where I could not legally have an abortion. 

Strikethroughs began to appear on my running list of potential schools, a document that is growing and shifting as I enter my junior year of high school. I knew I was in a position of privilege: If I did go to college in one of the 14 states where abortion was banned, I’d have the financial means to travel if I needed to. But that isn't true for many of my friends and classmates. And even with the ability to pay, there are so many students—myself included—who don’t want to take that chance. In fact, a recent survey found that over a third of students seeking higher-ed degrees say the Dobbs decision will affect which institution they attend. 

So an idea occurred to me. After the Supreme Court’s ruling, many private companies promised to cover the travel expenses of employees seeking out-of-state abortions (much to the chagrin of some state lawmakers). Why couldn’t colleges do the same? After all, shouldn’t the aim of any school be to support its students, and rid them of any obstacles disrupting their education? 

I decided to compile a list of schools in states where abortion is banned (or at high risk of being banned) and ask them one simple question: Would they cover the travel expenses of students forced to seek an out-of-state abortion? 

Here’s what I found.

Of the 61 schools I surveyed, only five gave me anything close to a yes. The College of Wooster, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, the University of Idaho, and Vanderbilt University referenced “emergency” or “Student Success” funds that students could potentially access for abortion care or abortion-related travel expenses.  

Twenty-one schools—mostly smaller, private institutions—gave ambiguous answers, either saying they were still developing plans or simply stating their commitment to their students. 

Nine schools—mostly large public universities—said that they would not pay for travel or had not discussed the topic. 

And 26 schools, almost evenly split between public and private, did not respond to repeated requests for comment, even as their students began to set foot on campus. 

All in all, the vast majority of the schools I called (which, by rough calculations, are attended by at least 480,000 students who could become pregnant) were not ready to help those students access crucial abortion care. 

Read the full list of schools’ responses here.

SO WHY ARE SCHOOLS NOT STEPPING UP THE WAY PRIVATE COMPANIES DID?

Schools are scrambling to create policies around abortion travel, and the reasons are complex. First, there are legal fears, especially for public universities whose budgets are controlled by the same legislatures that banned abortion in the first place. States such as Missouri have laws in place that prohibit the use of public funds for “performing or assisting abortion.” A public institution’s money may very well fall under that category. Other states’ abortion laws are too in flux, or not definitive enough for schools to create concrete policies.

Some states have even begun to explore legislation that outlaws crossing state lines for an abortion. According to Kimberley Harris, a constitutional law professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, “there is supposedly a constitutional right of interstate travel, or at least there has been in the past, but we’ve kind of seen what can happen with constitutional rights.” Bans such as these could even prohibit private schools from supporting abortion-related travel. 

And colleges must not only consider the question of where students may go, but the details of their abortions as well. Harris notes the case of Sidley Austin, a law firm that promised to pay for employees to go out-of-state to acquire abortion pills. The firm is facing legal threats from a group of Texas Republicans who claim that Sidley Austin facilitated “illegal” abortions. In a letter to the firm, they argued that “criminal prohibitions extend to drug-induced abortions if any part of the drug regimen is ingested in Texas, even if the drugs were dispensed by an out-of-state abortionist.” If a school were to pay for a student’s abortion travel, says Harris, it could leave the institution susceptible to a similar legal threat. 

These questions of liability, Harris explains, may prevent many schools—especially public institutions or those with religious affiliations—from paying. “A lot of colleges are very risk-averse when it comes to this,” she says. “There is a whole lot of fear.” Paying for students’ travel could fall under the category of aiding or abetting abortion, an action that civilians can now be rewarded for reporting in certain states. 

That fear may also affect a college’s medical providers or counselors. Telling students abortion is legal in neighboring states has little risk, but Harris believes that providing a direct referral could be riskier. “I think it will be more hinted at,” she said. In other words, a pregnant student could ask their school for support and be turned away—not only without medical care or travel funds, but without any clear advice.

University of Kentucky, one of many institutions yet to clarify whether it will help students. (Image by Michael Hickey via Getty Images)

THE CHAOS IN STATE ABORTION LAW—AND HOW IT AFFECTS SCHOOLS

As the answers from schools came in, I felt outraged thinking about the students who would have no institutional support if they needed an abortion. But I also noticed that these schools were just as confused as the students applying to them. Many gave me unclear or placeholder statements, likely because this is uncharted legal territory for them. Beyond travel, colleges are facing an onslaught of questions about abortion in a post-Roe world: How will they protect students' privacy given that, as Jessica Valenti has reported, college students are often not covered by medical privacy laws? Will lack of access to abortion impact other reproductive or medical care at college health centers? And will health centers themselves understand how to respond to the new laws? (A Chronicle of Higher Education survey implies they may not.)

Even the use of emergency funds raises questions about records left by financial transactions, which could serve as legal evidence. And it’s unclear whether students on campuses with funds are even aware those resources exist; colleges generally have an alarming track record when it comes to helping their students put emergency funds to use.  

The outlook is grim. But as I spoke to representatives from the schools surveyed, I began to feel sympathetic toward each party involved. Administrators are creating plans with incomplete legal information and an unclear sense of what the ramifications could be. College students are coming to campus unsure of where their school stands or what to do if they or someone they know needs an abortion.

But one thing is clear: This fall, in every state, students will show up on campus and they will, for a variety of reasons, seek out abortions.

What is less clear is what colleges will do to protect them. 

WHAT THE SCHOOLS SAID

The 61 colleges and universities in this list are located in 21 states which have either enacted abortion bans or are among those considered likely to do so.. (We also included Florida, which constitutionally protects abortion but has enacted a 15-week ban likely to impact students.) These schools are a mix of the most highly attended schools from each state and smaller, highly-ranked liberal arts schools. Like the American college landscape in general, they include public, private, and religiously affiliated institutions.

I asked each school: Will you pay for the travel expenses of students who need to seek abortions out of state? (Note: I categorized as a “yes” any school with a fund or support that would allow this travel, even if the school itself stopped short of explicit support of abortion travel or made clear that its policy is not to inquire about how the funds are used.)

 

Agnes Scott College

Decatur, Georgia

No comment.

A spokesperson from Agnes Scott College stated that “there is no comment at this time.” 


Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

No. 

If abortion were to become illegal in the state, Arizona State University told us it will not pay for the travel expenses of students who seek access to abortion.


Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

No response. 

Auburn University did not respond to requests for comment.


Baylor University

Waco, Texas 

No response. 

Baylor University did not respond to requests for comment. 


Berea College

Berea, Kentucky

No response.

Berea College did not respond to requests for comment. 


Brigham Young University

Provo, Utah

No response. 

Brigham Young University did not respond to requests for comment. 


Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, Ohio

Under review. 

Case Western Reserve has not stated whether it will cover students’ travel expenses. A university spokesperson stated that the school is “carefully assessing the situation and has convened a task force to assess all aspects of the decision and its implications for our faculty, students and staff.”


Centre College

Danville, Kentucky

Under review. 

A spokesperson for Centre College said the college is “studying the legal restrictions and requirements, and they are in flux until the courts in Kentucky make final decisions on what bans are actually in place.” 


Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

No response. 

Clemson University did not respond to requests for comment.


College of Wooster

Wooster, Ohio

Yes, through an emergency fund. 

A College of Wooster spokesperson stated that “if a student needs health care services that are not available locally, the College will support them in accessing care as nearby as possible. For some types of reproductive health care, such as abortion, that may mean assisting a student in accessing care in another state, for example. As for all medical care, students are eligible to apply for emergency funds from the Dean of Students’ office to support urgent reproductive healthcare, including abortion.” In a follow-up statement, ​​the spokesperson said, “Students are able to request emergency travel funds from The College of Wooster for any reason. We will not require documentation of the specific need out of respect for the privacy of the individual.”


Cornell College

Mount Vernon, Iowa

No response. 

Cornell College did not respond to requests for comment.


Denison University

Granville, Ohio 

Under review. 

Denison University has not explicitly stated whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A spokesperson stated, “We are still assessing both our existing resources and potential new resources. We do anticipate expanding our resources to ensure our campus community members have access to the health care they need.”


DePauw University

Greencastle, Indiana

No response. 

DePauw University did not respond to requests for comment.


Earlham College

Richmond, Indiana

Under review. 

An Earlham College spokesperson said that the school is “evaluating all of our options to support a woman's right to reproductive healthcare” but could not provide an answer yet on whether it will reimburse students for travel expenses.


Emory University 

Atlanta, Georgia

Unclear. 

Emory University has not explicitly stated whether it will cover students’ travel expenses. A spokesperson pointed to a statement by Student Health Services, which reads,Students should contact EUSHIP [Emory University Student Health Insurance Plan] directly to learn what support resources are available when a medical procedure is not available locally.”


Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

No response. 

Florida State University did not respond to requests for comment.


Furman University 

Greenville, South Carolina

Unclear. 

Furman University has not stated whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A spokesperson for the school pointed to a statement from President Elizabeth Davis, which says, “For our students, Furman will continue to provide education about and access to contraception and other healthcare services, as well as counseling for students who have pregnancy concerns, including providing information about prenatal care and available options for terminating a pregnancy.”


Georgia Institute of Technology 

Atlanta, Georgia

No response. 

Georgia Institute of Technology did not respond to requests for comment.


Grinnell College

Grinnell, Iowa

No response. 

Grinnell College did not respond to requests for comment.


Hanover College

Hanover, Indiana

No response. 

Hanover College did not respond to requests for comment.


Hendrix College

Conway, Arkansas

Unclear.

In July, a Hendrix College spokesperson said the school could not give an answer because the “policy review/revisions relating to the coming semester will take place over the next several weeks, as they do every summer.” They did not reply when asked for a follow-up comment in August.


Indiana University-Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana

Unclear. 

“Until state legislation is passed, it’s too premature for us to determine if or how IU might be impacted,” said a spokesperson for Indiana University-Bloomington in July. The state has since enacted an abortion ban, but the university told us in August that it is “still assessing the impact and assessing any steps we may need to take for our employees.”


Kenyon College

Gambier, Ohio

Yes, through a "Student Success Fund." 

A Kenyon College spokesperson sent us a statement that the school’s senior staff had made addressing reproductive health. It reminds students of a "Student Success Fund that offers financial assistance to students for a range of circumstances. Students may apply for these funds if they are experiencing hardship of any kind, whether or not they qualify for other forms of financial aid.


Louisiana State University

New Orleans, Louisiana

No response.

Louisiana State University did not respond to requests for comment.


Oberlin College

Oberlin, Ohio

Yes, through the use of emergency funds.

In a statement on reproductive health, Oberlin College President Carmen Ambar said: “We will also continue to work with the Oberlin Doula Collective, which provides support and community for those seeking abortions. And while we have never inquired about the exact purpose of a student’s use of emergency funds needed for health procedures, these funds will still be available to those who meet its criteria.”


Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

Unclear, implied no. 

Ohio State University “remains deeply committed to the health, safety and well-being of our students… and is closely examining the decision from the Supreme Court and changes in state law,” said a university spokesperson. “If necessary, Ohio State and the medical center will make adjustments to services, course offerings or resources to be in compliance with the law…” The spokesperson also mentioned the University's health care plan for its faculty and staff, which cites the Ohio law that public funds can not legally be spent on elective abortions—amounting to an implicit, if not explicit no.


Ohio Wesleyan University

Delaware, Ohio

Under review. 

Ohio Wesleyan University has not explicitly stated whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A spokesperson said that the school is “considering options to assist students, faculty, or staff who need access to women’s reproductive services that may be more inaccessible as a result of the recent court decision. We will be providing more information to our community when it is available.”


Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

No response. 

Purdue University did not respond to requests for comment.


Rhodes College

Memphis, Tennessee 

Under review. 

Rhodes College has not stated whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A spokesperson said, “President Collins has assembled a task force to help the college address critical issues and questions resulting from the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision. They will begin meeting soon.”


Rice University 

Houston, Texas

Under review. 

Rice University has not stated whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A university spokesperson highlighted a statement that former President David Leebron had made, which says that the school is “exploring how we can best continue to appropriately support the reproductive rights of our community, including access to abortion services. We…will share relevant information in as timely a manner as possible.


Southern Methodist University

Dallas, Texas

No response.

Southern Methodist University did not respond to requests for comment.


Southwestern University 

Georgetown, Texas

No.

Southwestern University told us that the school will not pay for the travel expenses of students seeking access to abortion.


Spelman College

Atlanta, Georgia 

No comment.

Spelman College declined to comment on whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A university spokesperson stated that the school is “closely monitoring the Title IX proposed rules and will make necessary updates based on the final regulations. Title IX has always provided protections regarding pregnancy and parenting. We will continue to assist our community members in accordance with the Title IX regulations and the values of Spelman College.”


Texas A&M University 

College Station, Texas

No.

Texas A&M will not pay for its students’ travel expenses when seeking access to abortion. According to a spokesperson for the university: “Student Health Services does not supply funding for travel or medical care outside of our health center. It is only for on-campus medical needs; no surgeries are performed there (nor have they ever). So, for example, if a student had cancer, they would have to seek treatment elsewhere.”


Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, Texas

No comment.

Texas Christian University has not stated whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A spokesperson told us they did not have information to share.


Transylvania University

Lexington, Kentucky

No comment.

A spokesperson for Transylvania University said that, to their knowledge, the school has “not held any discussions on the topic.”


Tulane University 

New Orleans, Louisiana 

No response.

Tulane University did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Alabama 

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

No response.

The University of Alabama did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

No response.

The University of Arizona did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Unclear.

The University of Arkansas has not stated whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A spokesperson for the university stated, “The Pat Walker Health Center on campus is dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of the campus community and will abide by state and federal law.”


University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

No.

Asked whether it might cover students’ out-of-state travel, a spokesperson for the University of Florida said that they were “not aware of any such plans.”


University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

No response.

The University of Georgia did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Idaho

Moscow, Idaho

Yes, though only through the use of donated (not school-provided) emergency funds.

A spokesperson from the University of Idaho said that the school “does not provide money specifically for students to travel for an abortion. The university does have emergency funds available to students. These small allocations of donated dollars (typically a couple hundred dollars) are given out without verification of need or use. While it is possible a student could use it for this, the university does not get involved in the medical decisions of our students….We provide information and resources that allow students to make informed and independent decisions.”


University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

No response. 

The University of Iowa did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Unclear. 

A spokesperson stated, “UK’s insurance plans do not cover elective abortions. We are in the process of analyzing the impacts of the Supreme Court’s decision as we move forward in compliance with state law.”


University of Miami

Miami, Florida

No response. 

The University of Miami did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Mississippi 

Oxford, Mississippi

No.

The University of Mississippi will not pay for the travel expenses of students seeking access to abortion.“The university only covers travel expenses for students when they are traveling on university-related business,” said a spokesperson.


University of Missouri 

Columbia, Missouri

No. 

The University of Missouri will not pay for the travel expenses of students seeking access to abortion. A spokesperson provided further context, explaining that “prior to the Dobbs decision, Missouri state law that was already in place prohibits university funds, employees and facilities from being used in any way to perform abortions.”


University of North Dakota 

Grand Forks, North Dakota

No.

The University of North Dakota will not pay for the travel expenses of students seeking access to abortion. The school “does not have any policies in place to cover the cost for travel,” said a spokesperson.


University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

No response.

The University of Notre Dame did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma

Unclear. 

The University of Oklahoma has not stated whether it would cover students’ travel expenses. A spokesperson said the school’s “top focus is supporting the needs, aspirations, and well-being of our students. While the university must and will comply with all applicable laws, we remain unwavering in our commitment to serve our students to the fullest extent possible.”


University of South Carolina 

Columbia, South Carolina

No response.

The University of South Carolina did not respond to requests for comment.


University of South Dakota

Vermillion, South Dakota

No response.

The University of South Dakota did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Tennessee 

Knoxville, Tennessee

No. 

The University of Tennessee told us that it will not pay for the travel expenses of students seeking access to abortion.


University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

Unclear.

The University of Texas at Austin has not stated whether it would pay the travel expenses of students seeking abortion care. A spokesperson noted that University Health Services “does not dispense abortive medications, provide abortion services or obstetrical/prenatal services.”


University of Texas at Dallas

Dallas, Texas

No response.

The University of Texas at Dallas did not respond to requests for comment.


University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

No.

The University of Utah told us that it will not pay for its students’ travel expenses when seeking access to abortion.


University of Wyoming

Laramie, Wyoming

No response. 

The University of Wyoming did not respond to requests for comment.


Vanderbilt University 

Nashville, Tennessee

Yes, through a “Student Critical Support Fund.”

A Vanderbilt University spokesperson pointed to a statement from the school, which explains that students will have the opportunity to apply for financial support from the “Student Critical Support Fund, formerly the Student Hardship Fund, that aids with unexpected expenses, including costs related to any medical procedure not available in Tennessee. Details on how to apply will be shared in the coming weeks.”


Washington University at St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri 

No comment. 

Washington University at St. Louis declined to comment beyond a statement made by the school’s Chancellor Andrew Martin and Dean David Perlmutter, which reads that “we must keep our focus squarely on the mission of the university — research, education, and patient care.”


Wofford College

Spartanburg, South Carolina

No response. 

Wofford College did not respond to requests for comment.


Don’t see your school on this list, but wondering what its policy might be? Call the Dean of Students—or the department in charge of student life—or the President and ask. Here’s the wording I used: Will [insert college] cover travel expenses for students who travel out of state to seek an abortion? 

If you do reach out to your administrators, send us an email at [email protected] and let us know what they say. As abortion laws change, we’ll be updating this list—with more states—this fall.