Senate Passes Leyva Bill Ensuring College Students’ Access to Medication Abortion

SB 24 Would Remove Barriers to Abortion Care for UC and CSU Students

Monday, May 20, 2019

SACRAMENTO – As other states continue to ban or severely restrict abortion, the California State Senate today approved the “College Student Right to Access Act” by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that will ensure access to medication abortion on California public university campuses for students who seek to end their pregnancy during the first ten weeks.

Specifically, Senate Bill 24 will require that public universities with on-campus student health centers offer medication abortion on campus by January 1, 2023.  Student health centers at many public universities in California already offer reproductive health services, including contraception, pregnancy options counseling and other health related services.  Disproportionately impacting students of color and low-income students, the lack of access to comprehensive and accessible reproductive care can hinder the well-being and academic success of college students.

“Recent efforts across our country make it absolutely clear that women’s rights, particularly access to abortion, are under attack,” Senator Leyva said.  “While other states are taking a giant step back to the days of outright misogyny and forced pregnancy, California continues to lead the nation by reaffirming the constitutional right to access abortion care without delay, including at student health centers on public university campuses.  All Californians—including college students—should have access to the full range of choices for reproductive health care services so that they can plan their futures and achieve their personal and professional goals.  When SB 24 becomes law, California will be the first state in the nation to approve such forward-thinking legislation, reaffirming California’s commitment to women’s rights, women’s health care and abortion access.”

Medication abortion, commonly called ‘the abortion pill,' is a non-invasive, non-surgical process for ending a pregnancy by taking prescription medication that blocks hormones needed for a pregnancy to continue. Research shows that medication abortion is safe and effective and has a success rate of over 95 percent and serious adverse events occur in only 0.3 percent of instances.

Now advancing to the Assembly for consideration, SB 24 is sponsored jointly by ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, ACLU of California, ACT for Women and Girls, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice California, Students United for Reproductive Justice at UC Berkeley and Women’s Foundation of California / Women’s Policy Institute.  The measure is also supported by over one hundred student, faculty, health care, reproductive rights, women’s rights, equality and other organizations.