Access to safe, legal abortion is becoming increasingly difficult for many pregnant people. And with Republicans continually focused on closing clinics, extending waiting periods and otherwise throwing roadblocks along the path to terminating an unwanted pregnancy, it won’t be getting better anytime soon.
California has experienced fewer of these restrictions, but even so, pregnant individuals still find it difficult to obtain care in a timely manner. Now, state lawmakers have come up with an ingenious way to help increase access: requiring medical abortion to be available at student health centers across the state.
For many college students, campus is literally a home away from home — and often an insular one. The dorm is their house and the cafeteria their kitchen. Many students work jobs on site for work study programs, and they often have no means of getting around other than public transportation.
Unsurprisingly, that leaves student health centers as the sole means of obtaining health care — and it makes obtaining an abortion extremely difficult. One California university has even tried to combat unintended pregnancy by installing a vending machine that disposes emergency contraception, so it can be obtained 24-hours a day. While that is an innovative change, it is just one step in addressing a major problem.
Democratic state Senator Connie Leyva wants to go even further, by offering RU 486 — a medical abortion regime — at all University of California and California State University health centers.
“A measure by state Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, would require the systems to provide abortion pills at their student health centers,” reports Capitol Public Radio. “Leyva introduced the bill after UC Berkeley declined student petitions to provide the medication at its on-campus health center. Cal student Adiba Khan read the letter of a classmate to the Senate Health committee. She described missing class, work and her internship as she searched for an off-campus provider. ‘I lost about $300 throughout this entire process,’ Khan read. ‘I lost days of lecture that could help me get a higher grade. I lost valuable experience from my internship.'”