On Oct. 11, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the “College Student Right to Access Act,” mandating that all California public universities carry abortion pills at their health clinics starting Jan. 1, 2023.
This new law officially makes California the first state to allow on-campus health centers to administer medication abortions for students. These abortions are non-surgical procedures, offered in the form of an oral pill, designed to terminate a pregnancy within the first 10 weeks.
“As other states and the federal government go backward, restricting reproductive freedom, in California we are moving forward, expanding access and reaffirming a woman’s right to choose,” Newsom said in a press statement released Oct. 11.
With the Trump administration limiting abortion rights across the country, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Connie M. Leyva, D-Chino, believes this bill is a big step forward for reproductive healthcare. On Oct. 11, she stated in a press release, “I am thrilled that Governor Newsom rejected the misguided paths that other states have taken in limiting access to abortion care. Abortion is a protected right, and it is important that everyone—including college students—have access to that right, if they so choose.”
Leyva introduced the College Student Right to Access Act in December 2018, hoping to make reproductive healthcare more accessible for university students who could not easily obtain abortion services off-campus.
This past February she told The Poly Post she was confident Newsom would sign the bill, since he had publicly voiced his support for the bill, prior to his time in office. Newsom did not disappoint.
She originally championed a similar version of the bill, Senate Bill 320, in February 2017.
It was vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown, who wrote it was “not necessary,” since students could receive abortion treatment off-campus at local clinics like Planned Parenthood.
Leyva’s bill gained support from many California students, including statewide student organizations like Cal State Student Association and the University of California Student Association.
According to the bill, $10.3 million raised by private donors will be allocated to fund the College Student Right to Access Act.
All public California universities will also be given $200,000 to implement the abortion services in their health centers. This includes costs for equipment, medication abortion training, security upgrades and the establishment of a 24-hour backup support line for students undergoing abortion procedures.
Matthew Milian, a third-year history student, is hopeful this law will benefit many students at Cal Poly Pomona.
“I think (this bill) is really great for people who need it and who don’t really have options (besides) campus,” Milian said. “Some people just don’t have options at home and can’t go to their parents, because they might react negatively, or they’re low income and are not really able to afford it. It’s just really helpful overall.”
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