Senate Passes “College Student Right to Access Act”

Senator Leyva: SB 320 Ensures Safe On-Campus Access to Medication Abortion

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Earlier today, the California State Senate approved legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that would ensure access to medication abortion services on California public university campuses for students who may become pregnant and seek to terminate their pregnancy during the first ten weeks.

Now advancing to the California State Assembly, SB 320 enhances the safe and reliable access to comprehensive reproductive health services for college women in California.  Under the bill, medication abortion services—as all other health care services—would be administered to students by trained medical professionals at on-campus student health centers.  Additionally, SB 320 would be implemented using a phased-in approach, giving schools until 2022 to prepare to offer this service on campus.  Many on-campus student health centers at public universities already offer reproductive health services, including contraception, pregnancy options counseling and other critical services for all students.  Unfortunately, students seeking early pregnancy termination are unable to receive that health care service on campus. 

“It is critical that college students in California are able to access safe and timely health care on campus, which certainly includes reproductive health care and medication abortion services.  Many women do not find out they are pregnant until several weeks into their pregnancy so on-campus access to medication abortion services before they reach ten weeks of pregnancy is vital,” Senator Leyva said.  “SB 320 would ensure that medication abortion is available to students at university student health centers so that they may access those services if they so choose.  College students should not have to delay medical care and travel many miles away from their work and school responsibilities to access to this constitutionally protected right.   If a student chooses to end her pregnancy, the safest time to do so is within the first ten weeks.  I thank my Senate colleagues for approving this important legislation today and look forward to the Assembly also prioritizing the reproductive health care of college students in the weeks and months ahead.”

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 0.3% of instances.

Sponsored jointly by the Women’s Policy Institute, ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, ACT for Women and Girls and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, SB 320 has received tremendous support from organizations across California, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Civil Liberties Union, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists / District IX, American Nurses Association / California, Associated Students of the University of California, California Immigrant Policy Center, California Women’s Law Center, Equality California, Equal Rights Advocates, Essential Access Health, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Maternal and Child Health Access, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Association of Social Workers / California Chapter, National Council of Jewish Women / California, National Partnership for Women & Families, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, South Asian Network, Tara Health Foundation, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Women’s Foundation of California, Youth Justice Coalition, among many others.