A California bill that would require all public colleges and universities to offer free abortions on campus is moving forward in the state legislature.
On Wednesday, the state Senate Education Committee approved the pro-abortion bill in a 5-2 party-line vote.
California Senate Bill 24 would require all public colleges and universities in California to provide abortion drugs to students on campus. It would require that the drugs be offered for free to students up to 10 weeks of pregnancy by the deadline of Jan. 1, 2023. State Sen. Connie Leyva is the sponsor.
“While some legislators in other states are actively turning their backs on the needs of women, I thank my Senate Education Committee colleagues for approving SB 24, which supports the academic and personal success of college students by ensuring that reproductive health services are available to all students who might need them without unnecessary barriers,” Leyva told Newsweek.
The bill now moves to the state Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Leyva claimed her bill is “critically important” to college students, because they can face “unnecessary barriers” to getting abortions.
A pro-abortion Democrat, Leyva pushed similar legislation in 2018. However, former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it, saying the measure was “not necessary” because abortions already are easily accessible to college students in California.
In his veto message, Brown pointed to a study sponsored by the supporters of the bill showing that the average distance to an abortion facility from campus was between 5 and 7 miles.
However, California’s new Gov. Gavin Newsom supports the legislation.
Earlier this month, pro-life advocates urged the committee to consider the potential risks and liabilities of forcing colleges to provide abortion drugs.
Marylee Shrider, political advocacy chair for Californians for Life, cited FDA statistics showing the serious risks associated with abortion drugs. The FDA has documented at least 4,000 cases of serious adverse events, including more than 1,000 women who required hospitalization; in addition, at least 22 women died after using the drug.
“Medication abortions on college campuses are not only unnecessary, they are contraindicated,” Shrider said.
She also pointed to Brown’s statement debunking the notion that students have to travel hours to get abortions.
Pro-lifers pointed out that the legislation does not support choices for pregnant and parenting students, either. It supports abortions. Nowhere in the legislation are provisions for students who chose to parent their child. There is no requirement that campuses offer prenatal care to pregnant students or child care to parenting students.
Initially, California public colleges and universities opposed Leyva’s bill because of safety concerns and liabilities. They pointed out that college health centers are not equipped to provide abortions. Additionally, most college health centers are not open in the evenings or on weekends, so they would not be able to treat complications.
California is one of the most radical states in regards to abortion access. Later term, elective abortions are legal, and girls as young as age 12 can obtain abortions without parental knowledge or consent.