Leyva Bill Ensuring College Student Access to Medication Abortion Clears Assembly Committee

SB 320 Would Make California First State to Ensure Early Abortion Care for Students

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Following compelling testimony by college students speaking about the importance of improving access to reproductive care on college campuses, the Assembly Health Committee today passed important legislation authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that will 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.

Specifically, SB 320 requires public universities with on-campus student health centers to provide medication abortion on campus by January 1, 2022.  Many student health centers at public universities in California already offer reproductive health services, including contraception, pregnancy options counseling and other health related services. Denying comprehensive and accessible reproductive care interferes with the well-being and academic success of students and disproportionately impacts students of color and low-income students.

“SB 320 would make California the first state in the nation to provide students with access to their constitutional right to terminate their pregnancy at student health centers on their college campus,” Senator Leyva said. “University students must have access to comprehensive reproductive health care services on campus, including medication abortion. If a student so chooses, that care should include access to safe medication abortion. If and when a student decides to end their pregnancy, the safest time to do so is within the first ten weeks, making timely access to this service critical. Students should not be forced to delay important medical care, travel long distances or even miss class or work responsibilities when medication abortion can be offered by trained health care providers on campus.”

Research shows that medication abortion is safe and effective and has a success rate of over 95 percent and serious adverse events exist in only 0.3 percent of instances. The 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 and a follow-up appointment is made for 1-2 weeks after the initial appointment with the provider to confirm successful pregnancy termination.  

Sponsored jointly by the Women’s Policy Institute, ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, ACT for Women and Girls, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and Students United for Reproductive Justice at UC Berkeley, 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, University of California Student Association, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Youth Justice Coalition, among many others.

SB 320 previously passed from the Senate in January and will next proceed to the Assembly Higher Education Committee for consideration.