On Friday, the California legislature passed a bill that would force every public university in the state to offer abortion pills to students.
The bill, SB-24, states:
Because abortion by medication techniques is both a recognized treatment for the medical condition of pregnancy and a health service every pregnant person in the state has the legal right to choose, it is the intent of the Legislature that public university student health centers make abortion by medication techniques as accessible and cost effective for students as possible … On and after January 1, 2023, each public university student health center shall offer abortion by medication techniques onsite. This service may be performed by providers on staff at the student health center, through telehealth services, or by providers associated with a contracted external agency.
The bill now awaits the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom, who supported a previous draft of the bill. He stated in the fall of 2018, “I would have supported that. I have long supported that. I subscribe to Planned Parenthood and NARAL’s position on that,” as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Pro-life forces have stated they will challenge the bill, as The New York Times noted.
The bill claims that more than 400,000 female students attend University of California (UC) schools. The bill’s author, state senator Connie Leyva, stated, “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 … SB 24 reaffirms the right of every college student to access abortion,” according to The Daily Mail. She added, “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.”
California is the first state to pass such legislation.
The Times pointed out, “The bill would apply to 34 campuses throughout the state, with nearly 750,000 enrolled students — 11 under the umbrella of the University of California and 23 under the California State University system. A 2018 study estimated that hundreds of students at these schools seek medication abortion each month.” The Times added, “Under the bill, as of 2023, campus health centers would be required to offer medication abortion — a process that involves taking two types of pills, legally approved to terminate pregnancies that are within 10 weeks of gestation.”
Last month, Bishop Jaime Soto, president of the California Catholic Conference, asked his flock to “pray with me a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of unborn children, asking her powerful intercession to defeat this bill.”
Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for Students for Life of America, stated, “We also are very concerned about the conscience rights of people — students whose fees will be used to underwrite these health centers.” Nick Reynosa, the Northern California coordinator of Students for Life of America, called SB 24 “a symbolic gesture to push back against the success of the pro-life movement.”