Assembly Higher Education Committee Supports Student Right to Access On-Campus Medication Abortion

Senator Leyva: SB 320 “Affirms a Student’s Constitutional Right to End a Pregnancy”

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Higher Education Committee today approved 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.

Now advancing to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, SB 320 enhances the safe and reliable access to comprehensive reproductive health services for college students in California.  Under the bill, similar to all other health care services, medication abortion services would be administered to students by trained medical professionals at on-campus student health centers.  The measure requires that public universities offer these important services to students by January 1, 2022.  Many on-campus student health centers at public universities already offer reproductive health services, including contraception, pregnancy options counseling and other health related services.  Unfortunately, students seeking early pregnancy termination are unable to receive that health care service on public university campuses.

“SB 320 will ensure that public university students in California have access to safe and timely medication abortion services on campus.  Oftentimes, students may not find out that they are pregnant until the fifth or sixth week, so it is vital that these services can be accessed promptly at student health centers on campus where students feel safe and already receive health care services.  SB 320 affirms a student’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy if they so choose, particularly by offering these services on campus since the safest time to do so is within the first ten weeks of pregnancy,” Senator Leyva said. “College students should not have to delay medical care and travel many miles away from their work and school responsibilities to access to medication abortion services.  With today’s vote in the Assembly Higher Education Committee, California is one step closer to leading the nation in providing comprehensive and accessible reproductive care to college students.”

Medication for early pregnancy termination is both safe and effective and 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 percent and serious adverse events exist in only 0.3 percent of instances.

Sponsored jointly by the Women’s Foundation of California 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 strong support from organizations across California, including the American Academy of Pediatrics / California, American Association of University Women, American Civil Liberties Union of California, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists / District IX, Associated Students at University of California, Berkeley, Business and Professional Women of Nevada County, California Academy of Family Physicians, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at Berkeley Law, Citizens for Choice, Having Our Say Coalition, National Abortion Federation, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, University of California Student Association and Western Center on Law and Poverty.