California Senate Passes Campus Medical Abortion Bill
The California Senate has approved a bill that would require its 34 public universities to offer the abortion pill to students at on-campus health centers, free of cost.
The bill, the “College Student Right to Access Act,” sponsored by state Senator Connie M. Leyva was passed in a 28-10 vote on Monday. The bill would allow students to terminate their pregnancies during the first ten weeks through the medication abortion method, CBS News reports.
In a statement, Leyva said that a lack of accessible reproductive care is disproportionately impacting students of color and low-income students throughout the state.
“While other states are taking a giant step back to the days of outright misogyny and forced pregnancy, California continues to lead the nation by reaffirming the constitutional right to access abortion care without delay, including at student health centers on public university campuses,” Leyva said.
“All Californians—including college students—should have access to the full range of choices for reproductive health care services so that they can plan their futures and achieve their personal and professional goals.”
Recently, Alabama, Georgia, and Connecticut passed anti-abortion bills, receiving serve backlash from individuals and various groups. Across the country, abortion rights advocates also held a “Stop the Bans” Day of Action for Reproductive Rights rally on May 21.
Last year, a similar bill moved by Leyva was vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown, who claimed that medication abortion pills were widely available off campuses and that the law was unnecessary.
“Access to reproductive health services, including abortion, is a long protected right in California,” Governor Brown wrote while returning the bill. “According to a study sponsored by the supporters of this legislation, the average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles, not an unreasonable distance.”
The bill is now headed to the state Assembly for a vote, with support from over one hundred students, faculty, health care, reproductive rights, women’s rights, and equality organizations.
Meanwhile, the Family Research Council, a Protestant activist group, has questioned the bill, saying that it does not take into consideration the safety and health of young women along with the final cost involved in its implementation.
“The state of California is vying to be the first state in the nation that would force institutions of education to become abortion facilities–with no safeguards for protecting taxpayer dollars,” Patrina Mosley, the council’s director of life, culture, and women’s advocacy, wrote.
Mosley added that chemical abortions can impact the physical and psychological health of women and called for the bill’s revocation.