By Victor Ochieng
Proponents of abortion must be very happy with the state of California which could soon see campus health centers be required to provide abortion pills.
According to estimates by abortion advocates, up to 1,000 pregnant college students go for abortion every month. This, they say, is the reason why they’re pushing for the state to enact a new law that would make getting abortion easier by requiring that all campus health centers avail abortion pills.
Interestingly, the state Senate has passed the bill (SB320) and the assembly is currently looking into it.
“I firmly believe that all students should be able to decide what to do with their own bodies and when to factor a family into their life,” said Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, the bill’s author. “After all, women do not lose the constitutional right to end a pregnancy simply because they are a college student.”
Should the bill sail through the assembly, California would become the first state to make such a requirement.
At the moment, not so many campus health centers across the nation provide the pills. According to a 2015 survey report released by the American College Health Association (ACHA), only two campus health centers offered the pill.
But then, there are those who are not for the bill. In California, Students for Life has organized 24 student groups that are putting pressure for the bill not to be passed.
The group’s regional coordinator Camille Rodriguez says students are set aback that the state would end up spending the limited education budget to fund abortion. “There are groups across the state that do not support this bill and so they are going and talking to their administrators,” she said, “They’re going and tabling outside their health centers to educate students on the bill.”
Other anti-abortion groups like the Californians for Life, said access to the pills shouldn’t be an issue, pointing out that the average distance between a Cal State or University of California campus to its respective nearest abortion clinic is less than 6 miles.
Rodriguez said that even before the bill came to the public domain, pro-life students were alarmed how campus health centers vouched for it. “We have found that many times when a woman finds out that she’s pregnant on campus she doesn’t know where to turn and abortion is presented as the easiest solution,” she said.
An ACHA survey found out that 80% of campus health centers said they take pregnant students through all options, but found out that only one center provided prenatal care on site.
There is already a team of private donors willing to spend up to $20 million towards providing the abortion pills to campuses as soon as the bill passes.
However, university administrators are still worried about funding. Toni Molle, a spokeswoman for the California State chancellor’s office lamented that the passage of the bill would end up raising the costs for liability insurance, safety improvements, medical training and need for 24/7 phone support in case of emergencies.
“Currently our CSU health centers offer basic health services. However, the administration of medications still requires a level of expertise that our health center staff may not have,” Molle said.