Columbia Reverses Decision to Cut Funds for Student Abortions

By Emily Frost on October 23, 2012 7:48pm 

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — Columbia University has reversed its recent decision to only fund the abortions of coeds covered by its Student Medical Insurance Plan.

In the past, the Ivy League college covered the abortions of all students — whether they were insured by the school's health plan or not — through a mandatory student health programming fee.

But this year abortions became part of the health plan, and the university reduced the health programming fee from $900 to $824, leaving those who opted out without financial support from the university for an abortion.

The policy shift was reported by Columbia student website Bwog.

The initial change was not publicized, according to the Columbia Spectator. It was unearthed this month by student Zoe Ridolfi-Starr '15, a lead activist for the school's Democrats group, when she was reading through Columbia's 101-page health plan brochure.

Students were outraged that the university didn't tell them of the change or provide counseling to those no longer covered, according to the Spectator.

“They knew that it was going to have a huge financial impact on students for whom this did become an issue,” Ridolfi-Starr told the Spectator. “And their plan was to Google a list of people in New York who would give abortions and tell students to go out into the city and fend for themselves.”

Health Services announced Monday night it had created a discretionary fund for both full-time and part-time students without insurance for “special, time-sensitive healthcare needs," including abortions, according to Bwog.

In a press release, the university stated that "financial support for the new fund will not be sourced from any mandatory student health fees."

"Details on access and procedures will be announced in the next few weeks," according to the release.

A Columbia University spokesman added in a statement: "The Columbia Health team welcomes all student questions, and staff members are available on a one-on-one and confidential basis to help students understand their options regardless of their insurance policy."

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