Governor Gavin Newsom signed a controversial bill into law that mandates all public colleges in California supply students with the abortion pill.
The College Student Right to Access Act, signed into law Friday, will make abortion pills available to students at the 34 University of California and California State University campuses starting in 2023. It will be funded through $10 million in private donations, that the state has to raise, rather than through taxes.
Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement that his signature was meant to contrast California with states that have sought to limit abortion access. Another bill he signed Friday would let students call Planned Parenthood to get birth control, rather than have to do so through a video conference.
“As other states and the federal government go backward, restricting reproductive freedom, in California we are moving forward, expanding access and reaffirming a woman’s right choose,” Newsom said.
Anti-abortion group Students for Life of America vowed to help healthcare workers in California who might be forced against their morals or religion to prescribe the abortion pill.
"Healthcare professionals will also be forced to hand them out no matter the consequences to women’s health, but Students for Life of America will make sure to connect these victims of conscience right violations with legal help to stop the spread of a bad idea that is only good for propping up abortion vendors like Planned Parenthood,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of SFLA.
The organization also said it would help students fight in other states that might consider similar laws.
The previous governor, Jerry Brown, vetoed similar legislation last year, saying that the rule wasn't necessary because abortion was easily accessible in the state. He cited a study showing that abortion providers were no more than five to seven miles from each campus.
Medication abortions use two pills, one to stop a pregnancy and the second, often taken at home, to empty the uterus in a process similar to a miscarriage. The pills are taken roughly 10 weeks or earlier into a pregnancy. Anti-abortion groups use the term "toilet seat abortion" to describe medication abortion.
A 2018 study found that between 322 to 519 students at public universities seek medication abortions every month.. The statement from Newsom's office said that women shouldn't have to go off campus or miss classes to access abortions.