“This bill would turn colleges into ‘abortion vendors.'”
Senate Bill 24, which would offer “abortion by medical techniques” at student clinics on California State University and University of California campuses, has moved to a crucial vote in the state Assembly.
SB 24 by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino), would require that every CSU or UC campus to have abortion by medication technique services by January of 2023. The bill would also grant a ‘College Student Health Center Sexual and Reproductive Health Preparation Fund’ for the new law.
“SB 24 is an important step toward ensuring the right to abortion is available to all Californians and that our college students don’t face unnecessary barriers,” said Senator Leyva. “Students should not have to travel off campus or miss class or work responsibilities in order to receive care that can easily be provided at a student health center.”
Support for the bill has come from numerous student and medical groups. Students from state campuses have had rallies across the state since the Spring in support of the bill.
University of California President Janet Napolitano has endorsed the bill. Echoing the words of Sen. Leyva, Napolitano said that SB 24 would be implemented as soon as possible and that students in California should get “affordable and convenient” reproductive health care.
This isn’t the first time that UC President Napolitano has supported abortion either, as she faced criticism for voting against abortion restrictions in 2008 while serving as the Governor of Arizona.
Opposition has come from many faith and family-based groups. Jacinta Vargas, an organizer for a family group in San Diego, told California Globe about her concerns. “Many of us are honestly scared of the language of the bill,” said Vargas. “It reads to us that they’re trying to justify abortion as a way to live your life without consequences. Like giving life.” Vargas specifically pointed out a passage in the bill that says: “Abortion care is a constitutional right and an integral part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.”
Bishop Jaime Soto of the Roman Catholic diocese of Sacramento has also been a vocal opponent. “Not only does this kill an unborn child up to 10 weeks of life, but would establish a potentially unconstitutional program that will violate the conscience rights of both students and campus healthcare center personnel,” Bishop Soto said in a recent letter. “This bill would turn colleges into “abortion vendors.”
In 2018, an identical bill was vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. He argued that the “the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus” and that, because they were so close, that a funded program on campus was “not necessary.”
The California Department of Finance announced in August its opposition to SB 24, finding the “significant” costs likely generated by the measure too burdensome for students, universities, and taxpayers, California Globe reported.