California will now require public colleges to offer the abortion pill
Yesterday (October 11, 2019), California became the first state in the US to require public colleges to provide abortion medication on campuses under a new law signed by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, CNN reports.
Newsom took office in January this year, and said the law was necessary in the following statement:
"As other states and the federal government go backward, restricting reproductive freedom, in California we are moving forward, expanding access and reaffirming a woman's right choose. We're removing barriers to reproductive health — increasing access on college campuses and using technology to modernize how patients interact with providers."
The 'College Student Right to Access Act,' or Senate Bill 24 will make it compulsory for the 34 public universities in California to offer the abortion pill by January 2023.
By that time, approximately 760,000 students in the University of California and California State system should have access to some form of reproductive healthcare on campus.
"It’s about access," California state Sen. Connie Leyva, who sponsored the bill, told VICE News last month after the bill passed the legislature. "Just because you have a constitutional right, if you don’t have access to that constitutional right, then it’s really no right at all. I’m tired of women being shamed."
California has already raised the necessary $10 million in private donations to cover the cost of the services. The law is not reliant on state dollars, The Associated Press reports.
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Those who opt to take the abortion medication would need to consume two prescription pills during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy to induce a miscarriage.
"If students have an unwanted pregnancy and choose to carry it to term, the university should provide resources for that student and support them," Ushma Upadhyay, a professor in the ANSIRH program, told VICE. "But there are many students who would choose abortion, and it’s really important for a university—in terms of gender equity—to make that option available."
The move comes in sharp contrast with a recent trend which has seen state lawmakers in the South and Midwest pass legislation to ban abortion.