Abortion pills to be avail­able at col­leges if New­som signs bill

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - BY HAN­NAH WILEY hwi­[email protected]

A bill to re­quire Cal­i­for­nia’s pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties to of­fer abortion med­i­ca­tion through cam­pus clin­ics now awaits Gov. Gavin New­som’s sig­na­ture.

Sen­ate Bill 24 is state Sen. Con­nie Leyva’s at­tempt to re­quire the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia and Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity sys­tems to of­fer stu­dents “the abortion pill” as an on-cam­pus med­i­cal ser­vice. The mea­sure moved to the gov­er­nor’s desk on Fri­day af­ter the Sen­ate ap­proved it on a 28-11 vote dur­ing the Leg­is­la­ture’s fi­nal day in ses­sion.

“In a time when states across our coun­try are rolling back women’s health care and ac­cess to abortion, Cal­i­for­nia con­tin­ues to lead the na­tion to pro­tect ev­ery in­di­vid­ual’s right to choose,” the Chino Demo­crat said. “SB 24 reaf­firms the right of ev­ery col­lege stu­dent to ac­cess abortion. By en­sur­ing that abortion care is avail­able on cam­pus, col­lege stu­dents will not have to choose be­tween de­lay­ing im­por­tant med­i­cal care or hav­ing to travel long distances or miss classes or work.”

Leyva cham­pi­oned the bill as a re­pro­duc­tive health­care rights is­sue that af­fects an es­ti­mated 500 pub­lic uni­ver­sity stu­dents each month. She said stu­dents who want to ter­mi­nate early preg­nan­cies with­out hav­ing to miss class or work to travel off cam­pus need ac­cess to the ser­vices within their own com­mu­nity.

Main­tain­ing that choice, she ad­vo­cated, will en­hance aca­demic achievemen­t and sup­port low­in­come stu­dents and women of color who strug­gle ac­cess­ing qual­ity re­pro­duc­tive care.

The Com­mis­sion on the Sta­tus of Women would fi­nan­cially sup­port train­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion ser­vices through pri­vate grant money. If that fund­ing falls short, the state would ei­ther have to cover the costs, or stu­dent health fees would have to in­crease, ac­cord­ing to the bill anal­y­sis.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown ve­toed a sim­i­lar mea­sure last year, say­ing the av­er­age dis­tance to abortion clin­ics was not “un­rea­son­able.”

“Be­cause the ser­vices re­quired by this bill are widely avail­able off cam­pus, this bill is not nec­es­sary,” he said.

Repub­li­cans voted against SB 24 in both cham­bers on Fri­day, with some Democrats ab­stain­ing in the As­sem­bly.

The Depart­ment of Finance also op­posed the bill, cit­ing the es­ti­mated price tag would likely ex­ceed the pri­vate funds. It also said the com­mis­sion lacks the re­sources and ex­per­tise re­quired to roll out a pro­gram of this “size, scope, or con­tent.”

The re­li­gious ad­vo­cacy group Cal­i­for­nia Fam­ily Coun­cil also op­posed the bill. Peo­ple who iden­ti­fied them­selves as Catholic crowded leg­isla­tive hear­ings on the bill this year to op­pose it.

For women who are less than 10 weeks preg­nant, the abortion pill is an al­ter­na­tive op­tion to more in­va­sive abortion pro­ce­dures. The process in­volves tak­ing two med­i­ca­tions within two days, which prompts cramp­ing and bleeding while the uterus ex­pels the pregnancy.

The med­i­ca­tion is con­sid­ered safe and is more than 90 per­cent ef­fec­tive , ac­cord­ing to Planned Par­ent­hood.

The bill was backed by pro-choice agen­cies, ac­tivists and stu­dent ad­vo­cacy groups like the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, NARAL Pro-Choice Cal­i­for­nia and Stu­dents United for Re­pro­duc­tive Jus­tice at UC Berke­ley.

“I was forced to go to an off-cam­pus provider for care be­cause my stu­dent health cen­ter did not pro­vide med­i­ca­tion abortion on cam­pus. That’s not how it should be. That’s not re­pro­duc­tive eq­uity and that’s cer­tainly not re­pro­duc­tive jus­tice,” said Zoe Mur­ray, a 23year-old Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Santa Bar­bara alumna who said at a Sept. 4 rally in Sacra­mento that she had an abortion her sopho­more year.

New­som has un­til Oct. 13 to sign the bill, which would take ef­fect in Jan­uary 2023.

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