As abortion and other reproductive health service access decreases thanks to budget cuts and restrictive legislation, a new California law has just sought to make abortion access far easier. On Oct. 11, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the College Student Right to Access Act into law, which means that California public colleges must offer medication abortions in on-campus clinics, VICE reports. The deadline for the 34 universities in California's public college system to comply with the new law is January 2023, according to VICE, but the law will only take full effect if a state commission raises the funds to cover costs of over $10 million by private donations in time, says NBC news. Newsom told NBC that the law is an important step towards protecting abortion access, since “other states and the federal government [are going] backward, restricting reproductive freedom."
Medication abortions can be performed up to around 10 weeks into a pregnancy, or 70 days from a person's last period, according to Planned Parenthood. It consists of two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, which induces heavy cramping and bleeding to end a pregnancy. Medication abortion is not the same as the morning after pill, The Los Angeles Times notes: The morning-after pill stops or slows down an egg from being released from the ovaries, so that it can't get fertilized in the first place, while abortion medication aborts a fertilized egg.
Once adequate funding is raised, California state colleges and the University of California system will be able to train providers, purchase needed equipment, and make sure that campus health clinics are adequately prepared to provide the abortion pills. The new legislation will make abortion accessible to about 760,000 students in the California public college system once fully implemented, VICE says.
“In a time when states across our country are rolling back women’s healthcare and access to abortion, California continues to lead the nation to protect every individual’s right to choose,” State Senator Connie Leyva, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement to The Los Angeles Times.
University of California spokeswoman Sarah McBride told NBC News that the university “believes students should have access to affordable and convenient reproductive health care of their choosing. The university is currently evaluating next steps and will implement the law accordingly,” she said.
Additionally, the new bill makes medication abortion more available through Planned Parenthood, The Los Angeles Times says. People seeking abortions will be able to get prescriptions from Planned Parenthood through an app.
The new bill is meant to alleviate barriers to abortion services for college students, who often face the same challenges that other abortion seekers do nationwide, VICE says. Money concerns and long travel times to health centers where safe abortion services are available, can bar access to care. And young adults seeking reproductive health care may also need help understanding what their best options are, especially if they’re new to navigating the medical system, notes VICE. This new law will help students can get the help that they need at a crucial moment of their lives.