Massachusetts bill would require that medication abortions be available at public universities

By Dave Andrusko

Massachusetts state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa 

Writing for the Boston University News Service, Keminni Amanor reported Monday that “A new bill requiring public universities in Massachusetts to provide on-campus medication abortion” is currently “in hearings in the Joint Committee on Public Health until further notice.”

Interestingly, while the Joint Committee last discussed the bill on Sept. 10, bill sponsor Massachusetts state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa “said the conversation cannot yet be made public.”

“More than 100 public universities in Massachusetts will be affected by bill H3841, which will make it possible for students to receive pills in order to end a pregnancy at any campus health center,” according to Amanor .

The text of HB3841 itself does not currently list how late in pregnancy medication abortions could be performed, but Amanor quotes information from Planned Parenthood , saying “these pills can be given only if the woman is less than 10 weeks pregnant.”

The story is very sketchy but apparently the bill was introduced last January by Sabadosa. It largely mimics California’s new law which requires public universities to offer chemical abortion at on-campus student health centers.

“The bill is slightly different than the California legislation in that it does create a trust that would be used to fund the cost of the medication on campuses. It could certainly become a line item in the budget,” said Sabadosa.

This is not as straightforward as it sounds. “According to the bill,” Amanor explains, “the trust, a Public University Health Center Sexual and Reproductive Health Preparation Fund, will be created with money approved by the legislature, though it is unclear where this money will come from yet.”

As was the case in California, the argument for the requirement is access to abortion. “It’s easier for students to be able to access care if they can go on campus, they can get follow up therapy more easily and it just is a huge burden off a time that can already be stressful,” Sabadosa said.

This was not true in California—which is why pro-abortion Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill—and it isn’t true in Massachusetts. Director of Community Engagement at Massachusetts Citizens for Life, C. J. Williams

said the bill is an unnecessary expansion of access to abortion at the detriment of safety.

“There’s nothing dangerous about a bus ride, there’s also the fact that in Massachusetts, many, many health facilities are very nearby. I don’t know one campus that doesn’t have one that would provide a chemical abortion within five miles,” she said.”

According to the story, “Williams also expressed frustration about how the bill limits the choices young people have when they are pregnant to just termination.”

“If you’re just putting an abortion facility in the middle of their college campus, our daughters are not getting the message that they have a choice. You want to give them options, not abortion,” Williams added.

J. David Franks, Board chairman at Massachusetts Citizens for Life, was also interviewed and said it is a “dangerous bill” for young women. “Facilitating this pop-a-pill mentality as if one can deal with the grave and long-reaching consequences of our reproductive biology, as if one can pop a pill or two and then have no problems. It’s just magical thinking,” Franks told the Boston University News Service.

No doubt to ward off additional questions about cost, Sabadosa told Amanor, “The legislation, however, only impacts public universities that already have health services on campus where they perform OB-GYN appointments, so it does not require universities to make upfront capital investment. It’s really the cost of the [abortifacient] medication