California is one step closer to forcing universities to provide abortion medication to students at on-campus health clinics.
The California state Senate Health Committee approved Senate Bill 24, also known as the "College Student Right to Access Act," in a vote of 7-2 on Wednesday, according to the California Legislative website.
In October, former Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a similar measure pushed by pro-abortion lawmakers. He argued that the bill wasn't necessary because abortion services were "widely available off-campus," Life News reported.
State Sen. Connie Leyva, the bill's chief sponsor, reintroduced the legislation in December.
"SB 24 is an important step toward ensuring the right to abortion is available to all Californians and that our college students don't face unnecessary barriers," Leyva said in a statement, according to Life News. "Students should not have to travel off campus or miss class or work responsibilities in order to receive care that can easily be provided at a student health center."
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Brown's successor, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would have signed the bill.
"I would have supported that. I have long supported that," Newsom said in October. "I subscribe to Planned Parenthood and NARAL's position on that."
What are the bill's details?
The bill would require that all California State University or University of California campuses "offer abortion by medication techniques" by Jan. 1, 2023, according to the bill's text.
The bill will not take effect until nearly $10.3 million in private monies is raised to cover the costs of equipment and training, the Washington Times reported.
The Times also said that the funds have been raised, according to "a spokesperson for a consortium of private health organizations."
What did pro-life advocates say?
Pro-life advocates urged lawmakers to consider the safety concerns surrounding the medication.
"Medication abortions on college campuses are not only unnecessary, they are contraindicated," Marylee Shrider said, according to Life News.
Shrider, who is the political advocacy chair for Californians for Life, cited statistics from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that show at least 4,000 adverse events in women who've taken the medication to end their pregnancies. At least 22 women have died from the drug, the outlet said.
What did supporters say?
Pro-abortion activist Phoebe Abramowitz at the University of California at Berkeley told the committee that students should have on-campus access to abortion, Life News reported.
"Students are really, really supportive of SB 24," Abramowitz said. "Students don't need to accept a watered-down definition of pro-choice — we can and must demand actual equitable access for all of us."
Birth control is widely available in student health care clinics in the state. Under California law, abortion is covered under health insurance policies.
Next, the legislation must be approved by the state Senate's education and appropriations committees. If passed, it would be presented to the full Senate for a vote.
The measure is expected to pass both Democrat-controlled legislative chambers.