College Student Right to Access Act awaits Gov. Newsom’s approval

Senate Bill 24 (SB 24), the “College Student Right to Access Act,” which mandates that all California public university health centers carry the abortion pill, currently sits on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. 

On Sept. 13, the California Senate passed SB 24 in a 29-11 vote, leaving the decision now up to Newsom, who has until Oct. 13 to either veto the bill or sign to make it a law.

In 2018, Newsom publicly supported SB 24 and pledged to sign the bill. 

However, in June, the California Department of Finance announced its opposition to the bill. In the analysis, the department outlined potential issues of SB 24, one being that it would require the “UC and CSU health centers to establish medical billing systems.”

Passing SB 24 would make California the first state to require public universities to offer an abortion option via pill method to students in need. 

The student opinion at Cal Poly Pomona is varied when it comes to the idea of medication abortions being administered on campus. 

Feminist Fight Club, a club that was created after the founder struggled with access to contraceptives on campus, is a major advocate for the abortion pill to be available on university campuses. The club is in full support of the bill as a part of the club’s Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Campaign.

Maya Aceytuno, a fourth-year communication student and Feminist Fight Club president, believes the school is responsible for supporting students’ reproductive healthcare.

“Schools are not just education systems anymore,” Aceytuno said. “It’s not one-stop shops. You’re not just going to lectures. Students live here. Students commute and stay here all day. It’s definitely the school’s responsibility. We as students might not have the medical insurance needed for this type of care and getting these resources off-campus can be a struggle.”

If SB 24 is approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom, California would become the first state to madate public universities to carry the abortion pill.
(Daniela Avila | The Poly Post)

If the bill is passed, Aceytuno wants CPP to take action as soon as possible.

“We want the school to not only recognize and support SB 24, but to also have a quick implementation for it and start gathering the resources needed to provide (the pill) for students,” Aceytuno said. “A holistic approach would be very helpful.”

She listed resources such as lab tests, private spaces, ultrasounds and dedicated therapists as essentials in assisting medication abortions. Aceytuno also explained that access to surgical abortions would be necessary if patients face complications during the abortion pill procedure. 

While many on campus favor passing the bill, others are strictly against it.

Kyle Schulz, a fourth-year geography student and president of the CPP Republicans Club, urges Newsom to kill the bill.

“The bill normalizes abortion and abortion shouldn’t be normalized,” Schulz said. “I get that some people need (the abortion pill), but it’s not something that should be provided by our universities.”

Schulz also believes passing the bill will create financial issues.

“(Passing the bill) will alienate a lot of people who are against it,” Schulz said. “As part of tuition, people are going to be paying for these (pills), even if they don’t believe in (it) themselves. And I believe that infringes on their rights. Women can already get (medication abortions) off campus, so it’s a complete waste to do it on campus.”

If Newsom signs the bill, it will not go in effect until Jan. 1, 2023.

CPP’s Student Health & Wellness Services were contacted for a comment; however, they are not able to give a comment on SB 24 at this time due to California State University policy. 

Update: A previous version of this article stated “Maya Aceytuno, a fourth-year communication student and Feminist Fight Club president, believes the school is responsible for supporting female students’ reproductive healthcare.” We wanted to clarify that FFC is a transgender-inclusive feminist group and we have corrected the mistake online. 

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