The Chief fiscal advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced opposition to SB 24 by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino), 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 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.
“While this bill and its sponsors indicate that private financing would cover all the costs associated with this bill, Finance notes this bill could create future General Fund cost pressures to the extent sufficient private funding cannot be raised to support readiness grants, the costs to comply with this bill’s requirements exceed the proposed grant funding, or to the extent the UC and CSU incur ongoing costs after January 1, 2023,” the Department of Finance reported.
SB 24 would require all UC and CSU student health centers to provide primary health care and medical abortions to students by January 2023.
The bill would also create a fund administered by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls that will provide a $200,000 grant to each public university student health center for abortion readiness upgrades and to develop associated back-up medical supports.
While the DOF supported the intention to bring more health care and medical abortions onto UC and CSU campuses, it gave a scathing assessment of the Commission’s ability to provide and administer essential funding.
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. The finance department noted that the ongoing funding required to turn all campus student health centers into primary care medical offices was cost-prohibitive.
SB 320 (Leyva of 2018) was substantially similar to this bill. SB 320 was vetoed by Governor Brown, 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.”