In a surprising move, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Sunday that would have mandated public universities in California provide the abortion pill, RU-486, to students.
According to to the San Francisco Chronicle, the bill would have required health centers at the University of California and California State University campuses to provide the pills starting in 2022.
Brown explained why he vetoed the bill in a statement where he claimed a study sponsored by supporters of the bill found that “the average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles” which he called “not an unreasonable distance.”
“Because the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus this bill is not necessary,” he concluded.
The push for the legislation reportedly came from UC Berkeley students after they failed to get their own campus to provide the medication. Student health centers at public universities typically do not offer abortions or abortion pills, but instead refer students to off-campus clinics, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Outside organizations including the Women’s Foundation of California and Tara Health Foundation reportedly pledged to give $200,000 to the public university systems and $200,000 to each campus to help pay for staff training and after-hours services.
Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, who introduced the bill, plans on introducing the bill again next session.
“As the Trump Administration continues to unravel many of the critical health care protections and services for women, legislation such as this is urgently needed to make sure that Californians are able to access the full range of reproductive care regardless of where they may live,” Leyva said in a statement.
Students for Life of America applauded the veto in a statement calling it a “win” but cautioning that “it’s not over.”
“Today’s veto is a victory for all women, students, and taxpayers in California,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America said. “Students for Life of America is proud to have worked alongside other pro-life groups in California to protect students from the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug. The Pro-Life Generation will continue to fight against all efforts to bring dangerous abortion drugs to college campuses.