Bill introduced to require publicly funded California colleges to provide abortion pills

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion California state Sen. Connie Leyva

Pro-abortion California state Sen. Connie Leyva

Pro-abortion California state Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) has introduced a bill that would make access to chemical abortifacients an obligation at publicly-funded colleges.

Senate Bill 320 “would require on-campus student health insurance plans offered by California State University, the California Community Colleges and the University of California to include coverage” of the abortion pill, according to the Daily Californian. The bill would not cover surgical abortions.

The Sacramento Bee chimed in, “The effect is similar to an early miscarriage, according to Planned Parenthood,” PPFA’s classic attempt to minimize the impact of a powerful two-drug abortion technique which is not only incredibly painful but has also cost 19 women their lives.

“I want to make sure women have access to these services — that they have a choice of whether they want to terminate their pregnancy,” Leyva said. “It should happen on campus so they don’t have to travel off campus, which could be a great expense and could make a hard situation more stressful.”

SB 320, reporter Carina Zhao explained, “has been referred to the education and health committees and has to be out of both committees by April, according to Leyva. If passed in these committees, the bill will go to appropriations for cost analysis before being voted on on the Senate floor.

“Leyva stated that the bill is still in an early stage of the process, but it could reach the governor’s desk by September.”

The Bee’s Taryn Lunda reported that while many-to-most college campuses offer “pregnancy counseling options,” none offer abortion services, according to Leyva’s office.

Leyva insisted the idea is “not new.” SB 320 “was something that has been in the works for some time,” she said.

Zhao traced the idea for mandatory access to the abortion pill back to October 2015 when one student and one alumna “spearheaded a movement at UC Berkeley through their organization, Students United for Reproductive Justice, or SURJ, in October 2015. The movement called for the Tang Center [the name for the University Health Services] to provide medication abortions as part of the Student Health Insurance Plan, or SHIP.”

The activists told Zhao a resolution passed in the Spring of 2016 by the Associated Students of the University of California [ASUC] that proposed providing abortifacients at the Tang Center wasn’t implemented by the Tang Center.

The Women’s Foundation of California, inspired by the ASUC resolution, brought the bill idea to Leyva’s attention, but Leyva only discovered that the bill was inspired by the ASUC resolution once she had started authoring SB 320.

“It’s just a coincidence that it’s around the same time (as the ASUC bill).”

Proponents were ecstatic that a state-wide bill would “dissipate” the opposition that would come about if the abortion pills were only distributed at Berkeley.

“One of the excellent things about this statewide bill is that when we were advocating for medication abortion at Tang, one of the main concerns was that if Berkeley (were) the first to provide this service, it would create a ton of opposition from anti-abortion, pro-life groups,” said ASUC Senator Marandah Field-Elliot, who was also part of SURJ and contributed to the ASUC resolution. “If the bill passes, the impact [of the opposition] will be dissipated through all institutes of higher education and will improve access all over California.”

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