California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) will force all taxpayer-funded public university campuses to provide abortion pills for students by 2023.
The College Student Right to Access Act requires each of its 34 campuses in the California State and University of California systems to provide access to abortion pills. The legislation characterized pregnancy as a "medical condition." Rather than seeking out abortion clinics, students will be able to obtain medical abortions on campus.
"Because abortion by medication techniques is both a recognized treatment for the medical condition of pregnancy and a health service every pregnant person in the state has the legal right to choose, it is the intent of the Legislature that public university student health centers make abortion by medication techniques as accessible and cost-effective for students as possible," the bill says.
A medicated abortion is induced by taking two pills. In that process, a woman’s uterus is emptied and the baby often ejected into a toilet. Abortion pills are only to be taken within the first 10 weeks of the pregnancy.
Newsom signed the bill into law on Friday. He said in a statement that his administration is committed to expand abortion access for young people. He contrasted his approach to other states that have adopted pro-life reforms, such as restricting the practice on unborn babies that can feel pain or when their hearts begin to beat in the womb.
"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," Newsom said.
Pro-life organizations said the bill does not include conscience protections for healthcare workers and would force those in the campus medical field to participate in abortion. Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said her organization plans to connect healthcare professionals with legal support if they are forced against their conscience to provide women with abortion pills.
"Healthcare professionals will also be forced to hand them out no matter the consequences to women’s health, but Students for Life of America will make sure to connect these victims of conscience right violations with legal help to stop the spread of a bad idea that is only good for propping up abortion vendors like Planned Parenthood," Hawkins said.
California has the largest public university student population in the country with more than 700,000 students enrolled between the two systems.