“College Student Right to Access Act” Passes Senate Health Committee

SB 320 Will Ensure Safe On-Campus Access to Early Medical Abortion Services

Thursday, April 20, 2017

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Health Committee today passed important legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that will enhance the safe and reliable access to comprehensive reproductive health services for college women in California.

In accord with discussions Senator Leyva agreed to in committee, SB 320 would ensure access to medical abortion services on University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) campuses.  This bill only applies to public colleges with on-campus student health centers and would be enacted on a delayed implementation schedule to offer schools additional time to prepare for offering this service on campus.  SB 320 will directly benefit college students who may become pregnant and seek to terminate their pregnancy within the first ten weeks.  Many on-campus student health centers on public colleges already offer reproductive health services, including contraception, pregnancy options counseling and other critical services for both women and men.  Unfortunately, students seeking early pregnancy termination are unable to receive that health care service on campus. 

“All women in California, including college aged women attending public universities, must have access to safe and timely reproductive health care on campus, including early pregnancy termination.  Students at UC’s and CSU’s already receive health care services at student health centers, so it is important that they also be able to access safe medical abortion services without unnecessary delays or obstacles,” Senator Leyva said.  “SB 320 will ensure that pregnant college students—if they choose to do so—are able to end their pregnancy within the first few weeks without needing to travel off campus to a distant clinic, pay out of pocket and even miss class or work obligations in order to access these constitutionally protected services.  College students should be able to secure their academic success and plan when to have a family in a way that is supportive of their own personal decisions for their education and future.  I thank the Senate Health Committee for passing SB 320 today so that we can better meet the health care, academic and personal needs of college students in California.  While SB 320 is in the Senate Education Committee for the next few months, I intend to continue working actively on the bill to ensure its success.”

Medication for early pregnancy termination is safe and effective.  Medication is given in two doses. The first dose is taken in the company of the medical provider and the second dose is sent home with the patient to take 24 hours later.  Most patients can return to normal activities within 1-2 days. A follow-up appointment is made for 1-2 weeks after the initial appointment with the provider to confirm successful pregnancy termination.  Research shows that medical abortion has a success rate of over 95% and serious adverse events exist in only 0.5% of instances.

Sponsored jointly by the Women’s Foundation of California, ACCESS Women’s Health Justice and ACT for Women and Girls, SB 320 has received tremendous support from organizations across California, including American Civil Liberties Union, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Nurses Association / California, Associated Students / University of California, California Immigrant Policy Center, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, California Women’s Law Center, Equal Rights Advocates, Essential Access Health, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Association of Social Workers / California Chapter, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, among others.

Following SB 320’s approval today by the Senate Health Committee, the bill will next proceed to the Senate Education Committee where it will remain for the next few months while Senator Leyva and stakeholders continue to work on the particular issues related to the bill.