California is expected to become the country’s first state to require public universities to offer the “abortion pill” to students.
SB 24 is expected to pass a State Assembly vote in the coming weeks and would require student health centers at all 34 state campuses to provide medication abortions.
The bill is being hailed as “the first of its kind in the U.S.”
According to a study by the Journal of Adolescent Health, up to 519 women at public universities seek medication abortion every month in California.
Proponents of the legislation claim the law is needed because it can be difficult for female students to travel to off-campus providers. Such providers average about 6 miles in distance from California public universities.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown cited the close proximity of off-campus providers as his reasoning for vetoing a similar bill last year, saying it was not necessary.
“Six miles away – that’s like a $5 Uber ride,” Nick Reynosa, an opponent of the bill, told NPR.
ASUC External Affairs Vice President Varsha Sarveshwar saw things differently.
“For students who are taking a full schedule of classes, working part-time, and/or lack the financial resources to travel to an abortion provider, this is a serious problem,” Sarveshwar said in an email to the Daily Californian.
Zoe Murray, a proponent of the bill, told Newsweek, “Senate Bill 24 is an opportunity for California to continue leading on abortion access and reproductive rights.”
SB 24, also known as the College Student Right to Access Act, would make the “abortion pill” available to women within 70 days of gestation.