Move for med­i­ca­tion abor­tion on cam­puses

Ripon Bulletin - - Local / State -

SACRA­MENTO (AP) — Cal­i­for­nia would be the first state to re­quire pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties to of­fer med­i­ca­tion abor­tion un­der leg­is­la­tion ap­proved in the state Se­nate Mon­day, a bill that if signed into law would mark a vast ex­pan­sion of a ser­vice that’s rare on college cam­puses.

None of the 34 Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia or Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity cam­puses cur­rently of­fer abor­tion ser­vices at their health cen­ters, in­stead re­fer­ring stu­dents to out­side providers. A group of pri­vate donors, some of them anony­mous, plan to pay for up to $20 mil­lion in startup costs, in­clud­ing ul­tra­sound equip­ment and train­ing for both med­i­cal and billing staff.

The bill, SB320, still needs Assem­bly ap­proval.

It would re­quire all univer­sity cam­puses to of­fer the ser­vice by 2022, as­sum­ing the donors come through with the money. Med­i­ca­tion abor­tion can be ad­min­is­tered up to 10 weeks into a preg­nancy.

“I firmly be­lieve that all stu­dents should be able to de­cide what to do with their own bod­ies and when to fac­tor a fam­ily into their life,” said Sen. Con­nie Leyva, D-Chino, the bill’s au­thor. “Af­ter all, women do not lose the con­sti­tu­tional right to end a preg­nancy sim­ply be­cause they are a college stu­dent.”

One med­i­ca­tion is ad­min­is­tered in the clinic and a pa­tient is given a sec­ond drug to take later at home. The med­i­ca­tions in­duce bleed­ing sim­i­lar to a mis­car­riage, ac­cord­ing to leg­isla­tive records.

The bill’s sup­port­ers say time is of the essence for women seek­ing a med­i­ca­tion abor­tion, which must oc­cur within the first 10 weeks of preg­nancy. Dis­pens­ing the med­i­ca­tion on cam­pus will en­sure that women have ac­cess, even if they don’t have a car or have trou­ble fit­ting an out­side ap­point­ment into their school sched­ule, Leyva said. Out­side providers also may not ac­cept stu­dent health in­surance plans.

But CSU of­fi­cials worry the man­date would im­pose se­vere costs for li­a­bil­ity in­surance, safety im­prove­ments, med­i­cal train­ing and round-the-clock phone sup­port for med­i­cal emer­gen­cies, said Toni Molle, a spokes­woman for the CSU chan­cel­lor’s of­fice.

“Cur­rently our CSU health cen­ters of­fer ba­sic health ser­vices, how­ever, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of med­i­ca­tions still re­quires a level of ex­per­tise that our health cen­ter staff may not have,” Molle said.

It’s un­clear how many colleges out­side Cal­i­for­nia of­fer ac­cess to med­i­ca­tion abor­tion on cam­pus. Marj Plumb, chief strate­gist for the Women’s Foun­da­tion of Cal­i­for­nia, said no other state re­quires cam­pus health cen­ters to of­fer med­i­ca­tion abor­tion.

A 2015 survey by the Amer­i­can College Health As­so­ci­a­tion found that just one of the 139 schools that com­pleted the survey of­fered med­i­ca­tion abor­tion ser­vices on site, said Joanne Brown, chair of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Sex­ual Health Ed­u­ca­tion and Clin­i­cal Care Coali­tion.

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