Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 24 by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) to require student health centers on University of California and California State University campus student health centers to provide primary health care and medical abortions to students by January 2023.
“Building on the state’s historic $100 million investment in reproductive health in the 2019-20 state budget, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed into law legislation expanding access to critical reproductive health care services,” Newsom said in a press statement.
“Newsom signed SB 24, a dangerous and untested bill to force California’s 32 public colleges universities into the abortion business,” said Greg Burt with the California Family Council. “Former Governor Jerry Brown refused to sign similar legislation just last year, and even Newsom’s own Department of Finance publicly opposed requiring university health centers to dispense abortion drugs.”
SB 320 was vetoed by Governor Brown in 2018, who stated, in part: “Access to reproductive health services, including abortion, is a long-protected right in California. According to a study sponsored by supporters of this legislation, the average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles, not an unreasonable distance. Because the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus, this bill is not necessary.”
The Chief fiscal advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced opposition to SB 24, a bill which requires medical clinics located on campuses within the University of California or California State University to provide primary health care services to students, as well as abortion by medication techniques onsite, the California Globe reported in August.
The California Department of Finance announced its opposition to SB 24, finding the “significant” costs likely generated by the measure too burdensome for students, universities, and taxpayers.
According to Leyva, SB 24 expands medication abortion services to student health centers on public university campuses. Currently, all student health centers offer some reproductive health services, and many offer comprehensive reproductive health services. Services at most SHCs include pregnancy testing/counseling, contraceptives, sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV counseling/testing, and cervical cancer screening/pap tests.
However, most campus student health centers have traditionally been little more than first aid clinics. None of the University of California or California State University campuses currently offer abortion services. Students are instead referred to outside providers.The finance department noted that the ongoing funding required to turn all campus student health centers into primary care medical offices was cost-prohibitive.
The University of California and the California State University systems also expressed concerns about the bill, because of the immense costs of providing abortions on campus, according to CBS 13 Sacramento.
UC said they were concerned about a lack of ongoing funding and “estimates proposed grants would be insufficient to cover costs in the readiness phase (2019 – 2023). We estimate a funding shortfall of $4.6 to $7.8 million across the 11 UC student health centers.”
CSU said “Campuses will need to buy equipment to be in compliance. The CSU assumes a cost of $37,556 for ultrasound at each of our campuses (total of $863,788), and additional ongoing maintenance costs.” They also addressed training costs of $10,067 per campus to provide training (total of $231,541).
CSU doctors do not do inpatient care via the CSU, or have hospital admission privileges.
A medication or chemical abortion, also known as the Abortion Pill RU-486, is a two-step process. The first pill is taken at the clinic, and the second pill is taken at home. The chemical abortion induces a miscarriage. Many women report excruciating pain and complications, requiring additional medical care in a hospital.
“Governor Newsom’s decision to sign SB 24 is infuriating and outrageous,” said California Family Council President Jonathan Keller. “He has chosen the accolades of abortion activists over the safety of students.“
Supporters/Sponsors of SB 24:
Access Women’s Health Justice (co-sponsor), ACLU California (co-sponsor), ACT for Women and Girls (co-sponsor), California Latinas For Reproductive Justice (co-sponsor), Students United For Reproductive Justice at Berkeley (co-sponsor), NARAL Pro-Choice California (co-sponsor), Students United for Reproductive Justice at Berkeley (co-sponsor), Women’s Policy Institute/Women’s Foundation of California (co-sponsor)