A bill that would require public college and university health centers to distribute abortion drugs passed the California Assembly and awaits the signature of Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The legislation, SB 24, passed the state Senate, 28–11, on Friday. Republicans voted against it in both chambers. Some Democrats abstained.
State Sen. Connie Leyva (D) championed the bill as a reproductive rights issue, reported the Sacramento Bee.
“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, adding:
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.
Leyva continued that having drug-induced abortions on campus will encourage students to achieve academically.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown, also a Democrat, vetoed a similar measure last year, stating forcing the distribution of abortion drugs on all public campuses was “not necessary.”
“Access to reproductive health services, including abortion, is a long-protected right in California,” Brown said in his veto message. “According to a study sponsored by supporters of this legislation, the average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles, not an unreasonable distance.”
“Because the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus, this bill is not necessary,” he added.
Planned Parenthood is urging Newsom to sign the bill into law:
SB 24 will help ensure that California university students have access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care on campus, including the abortion pill. It’s on the way to the gov’s desk as early as this week! Urge Gov. Newsom to sign #SB24! 📸 @justcareca pic.twitter.com/m2Bmfq1bNz
— PPCentralCoastAF (@PPCCAF) September 16, 2019
However, Students for Life of America (SFLA) protested the bill, and members of the pro-life organization testified against it.
“California legislators are recklessly experimenting with students’ lives and health by advancing a plan to force school health centers to become abortion vendors,” said SFLA President Kristan Hawkins.
The pro-life leader explained the effects of drug-induced abortions on young women:
These Toilet Bowl Abortions would create havoc on campuses, as girls are sent to their dorm bathrooms to bleed and pass an aborted infant in a toilet, without medical supervision or assistance. Why would California schools want to expose their students and their universities to that kind of deadly risk?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states about the dangers of the abortion drug Mifeprex:
As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal. The adverse events cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone because of concurrent use of other drugs, other medical or surgical treatments, co-existing medical conditions, and information gaps about patient health status and clinical management of the patient. A summary report of adverse events that reflects data through December 31, 2018 is here.
The FDA also advises that “all providers of medical abortion and emergency room healthcare practitioners should investigate the possibility of sepsis in women who are undergoing medical abortion and present with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea and weakness with or without abdominal pain.”
“These symptoms, even without a fever, may indicate a serious infection,” cautions FDA.
A recently released study by researchers at Franciscan University of Steubenville uncovered potential significant biological and behavioral problems associated with drug-induced abortion.
The study investigated the effects of the abortion-inducing drugs mifepristone (RU-486) and misoprostol in rats in a controlled environment.
Based on the animal models, the researchers found significant and harmful behavior changes in pregnant rats who were given the abortion-inducing drugs, compared to rats that did not receive the drugs and those that received the drugs but were not pregnant.
Dr. Stephen Sammut, psychology professor at Franciscan who led the study, said the research is “breaking new ground” in the area of the mental health effects of abortion on women.
“In the animal model, we observed depression-like behaviors, and we saw anxiety-like behaviors,” he explained in a statement. “The biochemistry indicated potentially long-term effects.”
Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-life OB-GYNs, also said in a statement about the study:
Medical abortion researchers focused on how fast the drug could kill the baby and how much effort it would take on the part of the abortionists to handle complications. This study (the first not performed by the abortion industry) raises serious concerns about mental health effects of drug-induced abortions and the differences between spontaneous and induced abortion. Such studies should have been performed long before drug-induced abortion was allowed on the market.
In a column at National Review, Nick Reynosa, SFLA northern regional coordinator, detailed the costs of SB 24, since California’s public universities “would be the first public institutions of higher education in the United States to navigate the uncharted territories of fiscal, legal, and medical liability mandated by this bill.”
Reynosa noted a statement from the Finance Department on the bill:
This bill would require UC and CSU health centers to establish medical billing systems and develop medical bill expertise. The UC and CSU indicate that campus health centers primarily offer triage and preventative services that have not required the implementation of medical billing systems and development of medical bill expertise because the centers are student fee supported. . . .
Every CSU has a student health center that is supported by student fees; however, CSU students are not required to have health insurance and the CSU does not offer a health insurance plan.
Medication abortions, then, would not necessarily be free for students, as the Finance Department observed, “The CSU notes that students’ out of pocket expenses for the medication and lab costs would be about $500.”
“That’s a lot of money for students, added to the costs and liability for the schools,” Reynosa wrote.