Calif. Gov. signs law requiring colleges to offer 'free' abortions
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed a bill requiring all University of California and California State University campuses to offer chemical abortion to students for free.
Senate Bill 24 – the “College Student Right to Access Act” – passed the California Legislature in September, giving Newsom about one month to either sign or veto the bill. Prior to Friday, when Newsom signed the bill into law, every indicator was that he would sign it.
According to the most recent enrollment data, 481,210 students are enrolled at CSU and 280,380 students are enrolled on UC campuses- a total of 761,590 students. Of those, 272,779 females were enrolled at CSU schools while 147,131 female students were enrolled at UC schools- a total of 419,910 students who would be covered by the new law.
California Campus Correspondent Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin asked students at UC-Santa Barbara their thoughts.
“As other states and the federal government go backward, restricting reproductive freedom, in California we are moving forward, expanding access and reaffirming a woman’s right [to]choose. We’re removing barriers to reproductive health – increasing access on college campuses and using technology to modernize how patients interact with providers," Newsom said in a news release.
Previously, former California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill. California state Sen. Connie Leyva introduced the bill that Newsom signed.
“In a time when states across our country are rolling back women’s health care and access to abortion, California continues to lead the nation to protect every individual’s right to choose,” Leyva said. “SB 24 reaffirms the right of every college student to access abortion. By ensuring that abortion care is available on campus, college students will not have to choose between delaying important medical care or having to travel long distances or miss classes or work.”
“In the absence of federal leadership on this issue, states must step up and put in place their own protections – both in statute and in their state constitutions, and through the expansion of family planning and education – to defend every American's right to reproductive freedom," Newsom wrote alongside Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in a May 2019 letter. "Roe is settled law, but newly enacted and clearly unconstitutional laws in a handful of states compel our states to act now to reaffirm longstanding commitments to safeguard the fundamental rights of women."
Pro-life groups on California's campuses voiced their disapproval. Among those are Students for Life Action Executive Director Matt Lamb, who recently sent a warning to UC and CSU campuses, saying the new law could mean " you will get sued."
Daniel Frise, co-president of Students for Life at UC Berkeley said there is no need for SB 24 in the UC and CSU systems.
“I am deeply disappointed that public universities in California may use financial resources and tuition money to fund abortions on campuses,” Frise told Campus Reform. “I think the bill will cause a decline in the state of higher education. Rather than providing abortions to pregnant students, schools should be providing mothers the support and resources necessary for them to care for their child during pregnancy and after birth. Women are capable of being mothers and students – they shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other.”
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America shed light on the bipartisan agreement against abortion.
“One thing pro-life and pro-choice people have in common is that they don't want their tax dollars going to pay for abortions,” Hawkins said. “It's an area of bi-partisan agreement, and that's something to keep in mind in this election cycle. The state of California has sent a radical proposal to the desk of the Governor, pushing chemical abortion pills on college and university campuses. This will put women's lives at risk, and put the taxpayers and schools at risk as people's conscience rights are violated when forced to participate with the abortion industry.”
Jessica Manzo, a student at Sacramento State University said Newsom advocated for Newsom to veto the chemical abortion bill.
“The legislation would make university administrations further complicit in the violent exploitation of university women that has been brought to light by the ‘Me-Too’ movement,” Manzo of CalMatters said. “Senate Bill 24 is not about health care. It is an example of partisan posturing, consolidating the state’s aversion to any restrictions of abortion.”
Both the Regents of the University of California and California State University Chancellor's Office declined to comment on SB 24.
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