Newsom signs bill ensuring access to abortion services on campuses

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Newsom signs bill ensuring access to abortion services on campuses

Illustration by Gabriela Lopez

Illustration by Gabriela Lopez

Illustration by Gabriela Lopez

Alex Chapa-Kunz, News Editor

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  California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 24, the College Student Right to Access Act, on Oct. 11, 2019. The act mandates that all California State University and University of California campus health centers provide access to medication abortions by Jan. 1 2023.  

  Medication abortion, more commonly referred to as “the abortion pill,” requires that two different medications be administered in the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy. The bill would require campus health centers to establish on campus procedures for providing the service, and allows for the use of telehealth professionals.  

  Approximately 1,000 students from the UC and CSU campuses obtain abortions each month according to Daniel Grossman, professor and director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at UC San Francisco, during the April 2019 California Senate Education Committee vote. 

  “We estimate that as many as 500 medication abortions would be provided monthly on campus if student health centers offered this service,” Grossman stated. 

  SB 24 comes at a time when many states are rolling back accessibility, with nine states having passed partial bans including the recently blocked Human Rights Protection Act from Alabama. Proponents of abortion restrictions hope that recently blocked bills will make their way to the Supreme Court’s docket, as the recent addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh gives the court a conservative majority.  

  “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,” said Governor Newsom in a press release. 

  The bill, sponsored by Senator Connie Leyva, creates the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and the College Student Health Center Sexual and Reproductive Health Preparation Fund. The newly established commission will be responsible for providing $200,000 to each CSU and UC campus health center. According to the wording of the bill, money for the fund will come from private sources and no campus or CSU general funds will be allowed to be repurposed.  

  “By ensuring that abortion care is available on campus, college students will not have to choose between delaying important medical care or having to travel long distances or miss classes or work,” Senator Leyva said in a statement.  

  The CSU chancellor’s office is reviewing the bill before deciding the best way to implement SB 24 on each of the 23 CSU campuses. According to Erika Delamar, assistant director of CSU Bakersfield’s health center, CSUB is hoping to have more clarity within the next couple of weeks if the review has been completed.  

  “The chancellor’s office says to wait as they review the guidelines of the law, so as of now the campuses are awaiting guidance,” said Delamar, speaking with The Runner after attending a directors conference for CSU health centers where they had planned to talk about the topic of SB 24.