CSUs and UCs to offer abortion pill on campus

The ‘College Student Right to Access Act’ will go into law in 2023

Kelly Kiernan

Jordan Silva-Benham, news editor

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 24, also known as the “College Student Right to Access Act,” Friday, mandating all public universities in California to offer medicated abortions starting Jan. 2023.

Medicated abortions, also known as “the abortion pill,” involve two medications: one to stop the pregnancy from growing and a second to empty a person’s uterus, according to Planned Parenthood.

“The health and well-being of California State University students is a priority for the university,” said Toni Molle, director of public affairs at the California State University chancellor’s office, in regards to the bill. “We appreciate the intent of any lawmakers who share that same priority.”

Medicated abortions can be implemented during the first ten weeks of a pregnancy.

“Abortion by medication techniques is extremely safe, highly effective, and cost effective,” according to section 1C of the bill. “Abortion by medication techniques is an essential part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, and should be accessible at on-campus student health centers.”

The UC San Francisco Medical Center’s website confirms that medicated abortions are relatively safe. Side effects include cramping, bleeding, nausea and fever and tend to dissipate within 24 hours.

The bill also requires that universities provide medical professionals on-call for the patient for 24 hours after the medication is taken. 

In a press release, Sen. Connie Leyva, the author of the bill, said the bill would prevent a student from missing classes or work due to an unplanned pregnancy. 

“Since women usually do not find out that they are pregnant until they are several weeks along, it is critical that this care can be accessed promptly on campus where students already spend the majority of their daily lives,” Leyva said.  “By providing medication abortion services on campus by trained health care providers, students will not be forced to delay medical care, travel long distances, or even miss class or work responsibilities.”

Biology major Shams Aldhahi said that she agreed with the premise of the bill.

“I think it’s great cause it gives the options, whether she wants to do it or whether she doesn’t, it’s her option,” Aldhahi said.

The bill will require the California Commission on Women and Girls to establish the College Student Health Center Sexual and Reproductive Health Preparation Fund which would be dedicated to training campus health staff in administering the medications.

At least $10.3 million of private money will need to be provided to the fund by Jan. 1, 2020 in order for the law to go into effect, according to the text of the bill. 

Each university within the University of California and CSU systems will be granted $200,000.

A medicated abortion can cost an individual up to $1,000 without insurance, according to Planned Parenthood.  

Molle said that the California Commission on Women and Girls is responsible for funding the practice, but that she is “unable to speculate how and when that funding will be identified.”

The law requires that abortion not be paid for with any university’s general funds or student fees.

If that funding is identified and the law takes effect, the Chancellor’s Office will work with campuses to ensure that all 23 are in compliance before the required implementation date of January 1, 2023,” Molle said. “As we are still at least three years from the mandated implementation date, many of the specific details are still to be determined.”

Additional reporting by Kelly Kiernan and Max Connor.