California is set to become the first state to require access to medication abortions on public university campuses.
All the UC and Cal State schools will be providing the medication to comply with SB 24, a law passed in 2019 that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
SB 24, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, requires all nine UC schools and 23 CSU campuses to offer medication abortions at their student health centers.
UC Davis is taking a proactive approach to the new requirement by providing abortion pills when students return to campus for the start of the fall session in September.
Dr. Cindy Schorzman, medical director of Student Health Services at UC Davis, explained how providing this type of medication is important in eliminating any barriers to health care.
“This additional service at our Student Health and Wellness Center really re-emphasizes to students that we are there for them no matter what they’re decisions, no matter which way they want to go with their health care,” she said. “We just want to make sure they’re taken care of and safe and have the full range of options available to them."
Schorzman noted that medication abortions are both safe and effective.
“[Medication abortions] can be used up to 10 weeks of pregnancy and are overall about 97% effective, although more effective earlier on in pregnancy.”
She also says any student at UC Davis, regardless of insurance coverage, will have access to the medication.
While the law was passed a few years ago, recent UC Davis graduate Valerie Lopez says the implementation couldn’t come at a better time given the recent Supreme Court ruling.
“Especially now with Roe v. Wade being overturned, I think it’s a lot more reassuring knowing that our universities are going to have our backs,” said Lopez.
The law makes it so students no longer have to travel to off-campus clinics to get the same medication. Edith Salcido, a third-year student at UC Davis, says she wouldn't get an abortion herself but respects other people’s decisions and supports eliminating any barriers to health care for students.
“Sometimes those barriers make it hard," said Salcido. "Like, what if I can’t go over there in time, and then I end up having the baby, and it’s going to cause a lot of conflict for that person, especially if they can’t financially support that baby?"
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