Abortion pill access is about choice


Stephanie Williams/The Runner

The entrance of Student Health Services at CSUB, Nov.18, 2019.

Cecilia Torres, Opinion Editor

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to sign a bill that would ensure students have access to abortion services on college campuses is an acknowledgement of a woman’s right to choose. The bill, SB 24, requires all University of California and California State University campuses to provide access to medication abortions by Jan. 1, 2023.

Medication abortion, not to be confused with surgical abortion, is when an unintended pregnancy is terminated using medication such as the “abortion pill” during the first weeks of the first trimester, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

I think people often forget that the fight for safe and legal abortion on the pro-choice side is more about women having a choice than anything else. Any legislation that protects that liberty is a step in the right direction.

“It’s a personal choice for women. Most people will have a say about her [a woman’s] body but it’s up to her,” junior Chase Gude, 22, biology major said. “I think it’s nice to open opportunities for women by providing safer options. I’m not sure how it will go since it’s the first time they do something like this, but it sounds like they’re trying to do something good, hopeful and safer.”

A common argument from those who rally against abortion rights is that life begins at conception, thus abortion is murder.

Women getting abortions don’t all fall into the same category. The fact that anti-abortion groups are willing to contend that in cases of rape there is an exception to be made shows that abortion is not a black-and-white, right-or-wrong issue. Rather, it is a case by case issue.

Passing legislation that groups women as if they were all in the same situation is only harmful to them, not to mention extremely restrictive, and to some degree controlling. On the other hand, passing legislation that offers a choice acknowledges that every case is different, and the freedom to decide what to do lies entirely with the woman and her doctor.

When it comes to the CSU Bakersfield community, I don’t think there will be a big change. It is not like the abortion service being provided in the health center will have students lining up by the hundreds, primarily because despite being located in California, which is very liberal, Bakersfield remains a highly conservative area. While there are some conservative people who support abortion, the majority are against it.

“About six in ten Republicans and those who lean towards the Republican Party (62%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases,” according to a fact sheet from the Pew Research Center website titled “Public Opinion on Abortion.”

Of course, with any service provided on the CSUB campus, there is a question of where the money to fund the service is coming from.

“Everyone has a right to do what they want with their own body, but the school shouldn’t be obligated [to provide the abortion pill.] How much is going to come from tuition? I don’t think that they should have to provide that,” Jasmine Green, 21, a senior psychology major said.

The funding for the abortion services mandate has already been decided. “SB 24 requires the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls to administer a Reproductive Health Fund, which will provide private funding to public university health centers to provide these new services,” according to the Office of Governor Gavin Newsome website.

The passing of this bill comes at a time when reproductive rights are under attack. Fear that the abortion rights granted in the historic Roe v. Wade decision may be getting cut down have spread since conservative justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Not having the right to a safe abortion is dangerous.

“The other choice is going through with the pregnancy,” Gude said. “Lack of options may result in not the best environment for her and her child.”

As a woman, I support whatever a woman chooses as best for her. Being pro-choice and being in support of this new service doesn’t compromise my personal views on abortion. I grew up in a Hispanic and Catholic household, both of which condemn abortion. While I would never get an abortion, simply because I feel that that is not the right choice for my body, I support other women who consider that option.