SB 24, the bill seeking to provide medication abortion to women at CSU and UC campuses, has passed the California State Legislature and now awaits Governor Newsom’s approval or veto. Despite significant Valley opposition to the bill, California State Senator Melissa Hurtado and Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, who both represent south Fresno (and other regions in the Valley) voted in favor of the bill. On the other hand, State Senator Andreas Borgeas opposed the bill, along with Assemblymen Jim Patterson, Frank Bigelow, and Devon Mathis. The advancement of the bill illustrates the unfortunate and continuous disregard for unborn, human life and for the well-being of women. It also points to the persistent denial of the bill’s unsafe and impractical implications.
Those who advocate and support the bill have yet to grasp two vital components of the bill’s impracticality: the possible dangers of medical abortion and the financial weight that the bill would place upon the UC and CSU campuses. That the lives of many unborn children are at stake under SB 24 provides enough reason for opposition to the bill, yet the aforementioned considerations also elucidate the limited perspective of those who continue to push for the bill.
Underlying the advocacy of campus-provided medication abortion is the failure to recognize that undergoing this process does not erase the need for further medical attention and may put female students at risk of medical complications. There exists an undeniable chance that the abortion may not be complete after the ingestion of the second set of pills, and even when the abortion reaches completion, most sources recommend following up with a doctor to ensure that, indeed, the abortion has been completed. As a result, the access to medication abortion on college campuses, though promoted under the notion of fair and more convenient accessibility, does not make the process more convenient. Students must be made aware that undergoing such process necessarily interrupts their normal routine, involves harsh bodily reactions—nausea, cramping, bleeding—poses significant risks (such as infection), and does not eliminate the need for further, in-person medical attention.
Just because the campus health center erases the need for transportation to an off-campus clinic does not constitute a reason to encourage students to turn to medication abortion. The risks and complications of such process need to be taken into serious consideration before encouraging female students to choose medication abortion, and this does not seem to concern California Legislature.
The bill also requires that student health centers provide the necessary expertise on medication abortion and be prepared for assisting any student that requires additional care. This consequently includes a financial burden to ensure the acquisition of necessary personnel and equipment. California’s own Department of Finance has issued a bill analysis opposing SB 24 due to the financial impracticalities inherent in the passing of the bill. The analysis claims that the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls “does not have the technical expertise nor existing capacity to develop and administer a program of this size, scope, or content.” And the analysis also draws attention to the “cost pressures” exerted on the UC and CSU systems when funding becomes unavailable or when costs exceed the estimate. Overall, the Department of Finance’s analysis presents a practical critique of the bill, one that should concern anyone with awareness of the consistent financial pressure on colleges and, most importantly, on students. It is not difficult to imagine student fees rising in response to UC and CSU compliance with SB 24.
In consideration, especially, of the many unborn lives potentially affected by this bill and of the reasons mentioned above, we encourage everyone to voice their opposition to SB 24 by visiting this link: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/. Once there, click “leave a comment,” enter your basic information (name, email address), and select “SB00024” from the drop-down menu by “Please choose your subject.” Once you click “continue,” the page will allow you to click the “con” option and to type your opinion about the bill. We have prepared a written response for anyone wishing to simply copy and paste it into the text box:
Dear Governor Newsom,
I strongly urge you to veto Senate Bill 24, which would mandate all public universities to distribute medication abortion from their student health centers. This is unprecedented intrusion on university campuses. It is unnecessary and only serves to further the ideology of the most radical pro-choice fanatics at the expense of all common sense and fiscal responsibilities. It is simply beyond the scope and ordinary responsibilities of a university student health center. Your own California Department of Finance also opposed this bill due to the excessive costs and the insufficient structures it puts in place for maintaining the program, indicating that students will have to shoulder the costs in increased tuition fees. Governor Brown correctly vetoed this legislation last year, noting how unnecessary it was for the state to provide this service that is often readily available near college campuses. It is significant that the CSU and UC systems have never supported this legislation in any of its iterations due to these problems. Young women who are pregnant on campus deserve our help and support for the resources they need to complete their education, not more abortions. Therefore, I strongly urge you to vote NO on SB 24.