California State Senator Connie Leyva (D) reintroduced a bill requiring all UC and California State University (CSU) medical centers to offer medication abortions at the first state Senate session on Dec. 10.
Senate Bill (SB) 320 was first introduced to the California State Assembly in February 2017 after the student government of UC Berkeley passed a resolution urging its campus health clinic to supply abortion pills. Although the bill passed the assembly, it was vetoed by former Governor Jerry Brown, who claimed that abortion services were “widely available off campus.”
Despite Brown’s veto message, a research group at UCSF found that most students would have to travel over 30 minutes to access abortion services.
If SB 320 had passed, it would have required health clinics at all public universities in California to offer medication abortion to their students. Medication abortion consists of two pills that must be taken within a ten-week period to terminate pregnancy. The pills are 95 percent effective and can be taken either at home or at a clinic.
When the bill had first passed assembly, the UC system expressed concerns regarding its cost of implementation. UC Office of the President Director of Media Relations Claire Doan said in a statement to Rewire.News: “Students should have access to affordable and convenient reproductive health care… However, as we have made clear to lawmakers, we are concerned that SB 320 does not provide adequate funding to support UC’s student health centers for medication abortion services on site.”
The bill, known as SB 24, outlines that a grant of $200,000 will be given to each campus health clinic to upgrade facilities and staff training. Another grant of $200,000 will be given to the both UC and CSU systems to staff 24-hour medical advice telephone lines and manage new financial procedures.
According to The Daily Californian, Leyva and ASUC External Affairs Vice President Nuha Khalfay were hoping that if the bill was reintroduced, incoming Governor Gavin Newsom (D) would pass it. An article from the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Newsom had already disagreed with Brown and said he would have passed the bill.
In response to Leyva’s plan for reintroduction, Adiba Khan, one of the UC Berkeley students who co-authored the bill, told The Triton, “We are thrilled that on October 2, incoming Governor Gavin Newsom said he would have signed SB 320 had he been governor. We still have both houses of the legislature to make it through again before he will have the opportunity to make this the law of the land.”
UPDATE: As of Dec. 12, the entire revised budget of $10,290,000 has already been raised for SB 24.
Correction: This article was updated on December 12, 2018 at 2:53p.m. A previous version claimed Sen. Levya’s bill was not introduced yet and has been corrected to state that it was introduced on December 10, known as SB 24. We apologize for the error.
Ella Chen is the News Editor of The Triton. You can follow her @cinder_ellachen.