By Anais Hernandez, Sept. 13, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona students will be able to access free abortion pills by January 2023 after Senate bill 24 was passed, allowing California State University and University of California to provide a non-surgical way to terminate pregnancies.

Amid the overturning of Roe v. Wade in May, the right to abortion no longer exists in many states after nearly 50 years of abortion access for women. Following the decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, getting an abortion in states other than California is nearly or completely illegal, with only some states having strict bans.

California on the other hand has incremented their resources for women to have access to abortion services, serving approximately 1.3 million out-of-state women. Because California is a state that invests in abortion access, UC and CSU students will have access on-campus to terminate a pregnancy and not be held criminally or civilly liable for the abortion.

“I think this is an amazing resource. There’re many studies that have shown the inequality that pharmacists have towards those who identify as female assigned at birth and women,” said Womxn’s Resource Center coordinator, Maria Cerce. “So, I think we should acknowledge that our health care matters, especially for students who are paying their fees and getting health care through the services on campus.”

Sharon Wu | The Poly Post

Director of Student Health and Wellness Services, Rita O’Neill shared that over the summer, the on-campus clinic underwent clinical protocol that taught staff how to process and navigate cases of abortion. Their health promotion staff has also prepared during the break with visual communication instructions and guides for students to become informed on the procedure and what they should expect.

“We have providers until five o’clock Monday through Friday and a 24-hour, seven day a week nurse advice line. Students going throughout the abortion process would then be able to call the nurse advice line for any questions or issues about the medication itself or any concern they might have,” said O’Neill.

For many students, CPP’s Health and Wellness center is their only means of getting free medical access. This resource would provide pregnant students with an option and would be guided by medical staff.

“Our idea is to not charge the student for the medication. We’re going to provide what we’re calling comfort kits that will help them throughout the process,” O’Neill said. “The student health center is going to use that money for the students’ benefits.”

Students that are interested in getting an abortion should not be more than 70 days pregnant. There are also factors that would need to be taken into consideration. According to O’Neill, the medical staff must assess the risk factors on the patient’s health.

“For example, if a student has a bleeding disorder, they aren’t good for this procedure. We would help the patient get to a higher level of care. We anticipate that pregnancies can be terminated up to 70 days, but it all depends on the student’s physical health,” said O’Neill.

Unlike Plan B, this pill needs to be prescribed by a physician. Because this medication is not an emergency contraception, it is stronger and the probability of termination is higher than any other contraceptive. In order to lower the risk factors, the sooner the pregnancy is terminated, the safer and smoother the non-surgical abortion will be.

For students wanting to terminate their pregnancy, the medical staff will need a confirmation of the pregnancy via a test and will determine the age of the pregnancy. When the medication is prescribed, the student has the option to pick it up from the clinic or have it delivered to their house or dorm room.

In order to have access to this resource, students can call the Health and Wellness center or book an appointment directly from the web’s online booking. Once the first step is completed, a provider from the center will begin the assessment and determine if the student is eligible for the abortion medication.

Social Justice leader for the Womxn’s Resource Center, Tori Umeda, shared that this resource can be life altering for many students that are not in the right place emotionally or financially to raise a child.

“I think it’s a great resource to have … as students we have a lot going on with our lives, with what’s going on with the world and Roe v. Wade overturn,” said Umeda. “This is just going to make it easier for people who are not ready to be parents or had a traumatic experience.”

The Student Health and Wellness Services are looking forward to offering a safer alternative to terminating pregnancies. For more information on this upcoming resource, stay up to date with the Student Health and Wellness Services website.

Feature image by Sharon Wu. 

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