A bill to force every California public college and university to provide free abortions passed a state Assembly committee Tuesday.
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 dangerous abortion drugs be offered for free to students up to 10 weeks of pregnancy by the deadline of Jan. 1, 2023.
The state Senate passed the bill in May, and the Democrat-controlled Assembly is expected to pass it as well, despite strong public opposition. Gov. Gavin Newsom also has expressed support for the legislation.
A news release from state Sen. Connie Leyva’s office indicated the bill passed the Assembly Higher Education Committee on Tuesday. Students for Life held a rally opposing the measure and several pro-life college students testified against the bill.
“One of the student leaders who has led the charge is Bernadette Tasy, who is a recent graduate of Fresno State University and leader of Fresno Pro-Life Future. Bernadette has been working nonstop – keeping her fellow students safe from dangerous drugs, mandated in the name of politics, and protecting the conscience rights of schools that did not set out to be abortion facilities,” according to the pro-life organization.
The organization praised the pro-life college students who have been fighting for years to stop the dangerous legislation.
Opposition is coming from public colleges and universities as well. Both the University of California and the California State University systems said they are not prepared to handle the immense costs of providing abortions on campus, according to CBS 13 Sacramento. They pointed to the costs of ultrasound machines, staff training, increased liabilities and more.
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None of the campuses currently provide abortions. Former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in 2018, saying the measure was “not necessary” because abortions already are easily accessible to college students in California.
In his veto message, Brown, a pro-abortion Democrat, pointed to a study from the supporters of the bill showing that the average distance to an abortion facility from campus was between 5 and 7 miles.
Pro-life advocates also have expressed serious concerns about the safety of women, as well as the promotion of unborn babies’ abortion deaths on campuses across the state.
Abortion activists said they hope the bill, the first of its kind in the nation, will prompt other states to do the same.
“As a national leader on access to abortion and reproductive healthcare, California must continue to proactively lead efforts to protect every individual’s right to choose,” Leyva said in a statement.
Family Research Council recently published a study debunking arguments in favor of the bill.
“This mandate shows a reckless disregard for the safety and health of young women and moreover creates considerable liability for the universities and all those involved,” the pro-life organization wrote.
Those concerns include:
- College dorm rooms are unsafe environments to have an abortion.
- University student health centers are not equipped to handle adverse outcomes of on-campus abortions that may occur.
- The bill’s funding mechanism is purposefully vague.
- No conscience exemptions are offered for college health center staff who may object to dispensing the abortion pill.
“Chemical abortions are traumatic multi-day processes that come with a risk of serious adverse effect,” FRC Director of Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy Patrina Mosley said. “No dormitory community is prepared to handle the liabilities such a mandate creates. The physical and psychological health of women is at considerable risk, and no state should consider it for model legislation.”
California is one of the most radical states in regards to abortion access. Late-term, elective abortions are legal, and girls as young as age 12 can obtain abortions without parental knowledge or consent.