The California State Legislature recently passed a bill that will require all public universities to carry abortion medication in student health centers beginning in 2022.
SB-320 was introduced by Senator Connie Leyva in 2017. The bill was passed by the state Senate and awaits further action from Governor Jerry Brown. The abortion pill specified is typically taken within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
The bill states that it is in the interest of California that every pregnant woman who wants an abortion is able to have easy access to it. It also says that having early and accessible care for young people will help them stay on track with any educational and life plans.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights organization that conducts research on abortions, as of 2014, 60 percent of abortions were made by women in their twenties. With 39,343 students enrolled at Cal State Fullerton in spring 2018, 57 percent of the population was female.
Students For Life’s new president, Cameron Brewer, opposes the bill. Brewer said that any campus health resources should be used to help women who are pregnant, need help with child care and give information about adoption.
“It’s (the pill) more traumatic for women. It’s way easier to access without thinking about it, and the side effects can be more severe. There should be more instruction on the adoption process,” said Brewer.
Students offer different reactions to the proposed bill. Second-year child and adult development major Yerenni Tenorio believes that it’s a good option for people who are in tough situations.
“Everyone should have the choice if they want to do it or not. The pill would be a good option for people to have if they don’t want to go through a surgical procedure,” said Tenorio.
Freshman Sebastian Martinez thinks that the new bill won’t impose on students because they have the choice to decide if they want an abortion.
“I don’t know the exact science on where we can consider a fetus an actual living being versus where it is not. But if it gives the women opportunity, it’s just a choice. It’s not something you’re forcing onto people,” said Martinez.
The abortion controversy became more prominent when United States Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, recently referred to birth control as “abortion-inducing drugs” in a confirmation hearing.
If Kavanaugh becomes the new justice on the Supreme Court, he will take the place of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, a case that challenged a Pennsylvania law that made women wait 24 hours and required consent in order to obtain an abortion.
Those who receive Medi-Cal benefits currently are able to get services such as doctor visits, immunizations, pregnancy care, and hospitalization. The bill states that California recognizes abortion as a part of essential health and, if passed, it must now be covered by Medi-Cal and by privately managed health insurances regulated by the state.
Whether passed or not, the intent of the legislature is to offer easily accessible and cost-efficient abortion medication in health centers on public universities, while also asserting that student health centers should treat abortion by medication as a basic health service.