September 30, 2018
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed first of its kind legislation that would have required all student health centers at California public universities to offer medication abortion.
No student health centers at public universities in California currently provide abortion services, despite the fact that more than 500 students seek this care every month. Students often struggle to access abortion: many do not have transportation and going off campus for health care can be financially and logistically prohibitive.
“This week we watched while powerful institutions, and specifically the white men who run them, repeatedly denigrated and ignored the lived experiences of women’s sexual assault in favor of protecting their own power,” said Adiba Khan, Co-Founder of Berkeley Students United for Reproductive Justice. “And so today it is particularly unconscionable that Gov. Jerry Brown chose to turn his back on students’ experiences and instead hide behind bogus claims to deny increased access to abortion. He completely discounted the burden that travel, time, and additional costs can impose on students.”
“More than 40 years after abortion was made legal, and 18 years after the abortion pill was allowed in the U.S., no public California university yet offers abortion care. It’s clear that this won’t happen on its own,” said Surina Khan, CEO, The Women’s Foundation of California. “We choose to listen to students, not those in power who continually deny their reproductive rights. We deserve a system that works for the student of California.”
“We are disappointed that Gov. Brown failed to support what the Senate, the Assembly, and 6 in 10 Californians already have recognized in this groundbreaking bill—that students of California need abortion care on campus,” said Surina Khan, CEO, The Women’s Foundation of California.
“Students should be able to make the decisions they believe are best for themselves, including the decision to become a parent or end a pregnancy,” said Laura Jiménez, Executive Director, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. “Today, Governor Brown failed to acknowledge that fact and ignored the will of the majority of Californians who supported SB 320. We will not stop working towards a day when all Californians have access to crucial reproductive health services including abortion.”
Medication abortion is a safe, effective and simple way to end a pregnancy up to 10 weeks. The abortion pill is much simpler to provide than some of the care already offered at student health centers, which provide other reproductive health services including pregnancy options counseling, birth control, and sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing.
Sponsors of SB 320 remain committed to ensuring that California universities offer abortion care at student health centers.
“This setback only intensifies our commitment. We’re eager to get back to work to get this done and we are confident that our state will soon have abortion care on campus,” said Sarah Hutchinson, Policy Director at ACT for Women and Girls.
A consortium of funders including the Women’s Foundation of California remain committed to providing the necessary funding to implement medication abortion on California’s public university campuses.