This Kaiser Health News story can be republished for free (details).
Forty-five years after Roe v. Wade made abortions legal, a growing number of states — and the federal government — are restricting access to them.
Ever the contrarian state, California is trying to do the opposite.
A proposed state law would require student health centers at all 34 California State University and University of California campuses to make the abortion pill available for women who request it. Under the terms of the bill, which passed in the state Senate earlier this year and awaits action in the Assembly, health centers at those public institutions would have to stock the medication by 2022.
The abortion medication, once known as RU-486, is now comprised of a two-pill dosage. The medication provides a non-surgical option for women in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
If the bill succeeds, California would be the first state in the nation to provide abortion pills on public college campuses.
State Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) said she’s sponsoring the measure because she believes students should have access to safe abortions, early on, in an environment in which they feel comfortable.
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Under Leyva’s measure, private donations would fund the startup costs for provider training and ultrasound equipment. After that, the service would sustain itself by billing students’ insurance plans, she said. “We don’t want students paying for something that possibly they don’t believe in,” Leyva said.
Opponents say abortions have no place on college campuses, that health centers are not equipped to deal with potential complications and that abortion providers are easy to reach throughout most of California anyway. The median travel time from UC or Cal State campuses to an abortion provider is 34 minutes via public transportation, according to research by the University of California-San Francisco. Students at California State University-Stanislaus face the longest travel time – about an hour and a half, the study showed.
California Healthline interviewed UC and Cal State students across the state, and they expressed mixed views about the proposal.
Brooke Paz, 21,…