Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Sept. 30 that would have required all California public universities to provide abortion pills through campus health centers starting in 2022.
The Assembly and Senate both passed the bill Aug. 30, 2018.
The bill proposed that each California State University and University of California campus provide abortion pills in campus health centers.
As of now, any form of abortion is not available on campuses and students wishing to end their pregnancies are referred to off-campus resources.
The abortion pill is a less intrusive method of terminating a pregnancy within the first 10 weeks of impregnation.
It consists of two different pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, that can be taken either at home or in a clinic.
As opposed to other contraceptives like the morning-after pill which would prevent or end a “possible” pregnancy, the combination of the two drugs induces a miscarriage in the case of a confirmed pregnancy.
Students from the University of California, Berkeley, were integral in the campaign by bringing attention to the lack of the abortion pill on university campuses.
In an NPR article on the topic, Adiba Khan, author of the resolution and a co-founder of Students United for Reproductive Justice, noted the health center at UC Berkeley offered 18 forms of contraception but lacked abortion pills.
The main issue that Khan noted was the number of hurdles women have to go through to get the abortion pill.
The resolution stated that by not having the abortion pill readily available on university campuses, the financial, time and travel constraints to obtain it instilled negative effects on students’ emotional health and academic performance.
Student government at UC Berkeley proposed that the university health center provide this specific service. When it was denied, they pushed for the legislation to be passed statewide.
Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, introduced the bill on Feb. 13, 2017.
While the CSUs and UCs didn’t take a position on the bill, they were concerned with the expenses it would carry.
Groups including the Tara Health Foundation and Women’s Foundation of California would have funded the majority of direct and indirect expenses of the bill through private grants.
They would have provided $200,000 to each of the UC and CSU campuses.
One of the requirements for implementing the bill would have been that at least $9.6 million in private funds would be made available by Jan. 1, 2019.
In a San Francisco Chronicle article published Sept. 30, UC spokeswoman Claire Doan stated that the funds promised by private groups would not be sufficient to cover all the expenses to support this service and concluded that UCs would incur a significant impact on their budget. Student fees would also be affected.
The Chronicle stated that CSU officials said the campuses couldn’t afford the expenses of training staff and providing enough care for students.
After both the Senate and Assembly passed SB 320, Gov. Brown returned it without his signature, stating, “Because the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus, this bill is not necessary.”
Bianca Delgado, a second-year transfer and anthropology student, disagreed with the governor’s veto.
“I think it’s not right,” she said. “I think if it doesn’t drastically affect student fees, then the option should be made available. Our health services literally offer everything from blood work, pap smears and X-rays so I think it’s only right they encompass all student health concerns. So, as the open and safe environment that university campuses constantly promote themselves to be, they should have those resources.”
With the positive support from students and the majority of Senate and Assembly votes in favor of the bill, there may be reason to believe this isn’t the end of this issue.
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