UC + CSU Campus Health Centers Ready to Expand Access to Medication Abortion
Amy Moy / 415.518.4465 / email@example.com
As University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) students return for classes, they will be able to access medication abortion through their campus health centers, in accordance with Senate Bill 24 - College Student Right to Access Act. The measure, signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2019, required all UCs and CSUs to begin providing medication abortion on campus by January 1, 2023.
State leaders, Essential Access Health, and student organizers applaud campus health centers for making the promise of SB 24 a reality for students across the state:
“As other states go backward, restricting reproductive freedom, in California we are moving forward, expanding access and reaffirming a woman’s right to choose,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We’re removing barriers to reproductive health – increasing access on college campuses and using technology to modernize how patients interact with providers to get the health care services they need when and where they need them.”
“Supporting UC and CSU students is critical to our state’s future and one of the most important ways we can do that is to make sure they can get the health care they need, as soon as they need it,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). “I co-authored the College Student Right to Access Act, which became effective this month, to address challenges students face when obtaining reproductive care by providing equitable access to medication abortion services on public university campuses.”
“In a post-Roe landscape, safe haven and “Reproductive Freedom” states like California have to do everything possible to enhance our abortion care capacity and infrastructure, including providing continuity of care for patients and reducing wait times for time-sensitive services,” said Amy Moy, Co-CEO at Essential Access Health, the organization that provided training and technical assistance to support SB 24 implementation. “The readiness of campus health centers to provide medication abortion, continues California’s leadership in making abortion care more equitable and accessible, and provides a model for other states without harmful bans or restrictions to adopt.”
“We are very proud of the incredible hard work and dedication of campus health center staff and campus leadership, and progress that they have made toward full implementation of SB 24. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges, all 34 public university student health centers in California were trained and are ready to provide medication abortion to students on campus by the January deadline,” said Annie Sumberg, Senior Director of the Medication Abortion Access Program at Essential Access Health. “As we move forward, we will continue to explore opportunities to support their efforts on an ongoing basis.”
"When students organize and unite, we win. SB24 is proof that students have the power to create positive change on their campuses and advocate for abortion-positive legislation,” said Faith Garcia, California State Organizer at Unite For Reproductive & Gender Equity. “As a CSU San Marcos alum and reproductive justice organizer, I applaud California for expanding abortion access while other states across the country continue to implement racist abortion bans. However, affordable access to medication abortion must be the next step toward our ultimate goal: abortion access for all.”
“Spreading awareness about the abortion services newly available on UC and CSU campuses is not only imperative to the equitable and effective implementation of SB 24, but imperative to the health and safety of students. All students deserve the right to know about the services and options available to them, especially during what can be an overwhelming and vulnerable time,” said Devanshi Tomar and Winnie Xu, student leaders at UCSB and UCLA from Preserve Abortion Access California Taskforce (PAACT).
In 2016, students from Students United for Reproductive Justice (SURJ) at the University of California, Berkeley authored an Associated Students of California (ASUC) resolution that supported the implementation of medication abortion at their student health center. The Women’s Policy Institute (WPI, now the Dr. Beatriz María Solís Policy Institute) at the California’s Women’s Foundation became aware of the issue and was inspired by the work of the SURJ students to expand medication abortion access for university students.
In partnership with WPI advocates and a broad range of advocates statewide, Senator Connie Leyva introduced SB 320 in 2017 to require all public university student health centers in California to provide medication abortion. The measure was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.
In 2019, Senator Leyva introduced a similar measure, SB 24. The bill passed the legislature with overwhelming support and with Governor Newsom’s signature, California became the first state to require that medication abortion be available at UC and CSU campus health centers. The legislation included an implementation date of January 1, 2023.
An estimated 6,228 UC and CSU students a year seek medication abortion in California. More than half of UC and CSU students come from low-income households and often face financial and logistical barriers to obtaining care, with a majority using public transit to travel more than 30 minutes one-way to the nearest abortion provider. More than two-thirds of UC students and one-third of CSU students do not have a car, making cost and transportation barriers an unnecessary hardship. First generation students, students of color and students with low-incomes are particularly harmed by barriers to accessing reproductive health services.
Medication abortion is essential health care and all university students should be able to equally access care without delay, regardless of their income or where they go to school. SB 24 sets forth a new standard of care that will be a key model for other states.
According to a recent report released by the California Commission on the Status of Women, all 34 UC and CSU health centers reported being ready to provide medication abortion care. Essential Access Health’s Medication Abortion Access Project provided training and technical assistance to support implementation.