California universities join abortion debates

Category:  Opinions
Friday, September 20th, 2019 at 11:05 AM

Abortions should be legal and communities that have historically been oppressed, like women and members of the LGBTQIA+, need to have better access to them. But who should the burden of providing abortions fall on?

SB-24, the “College Student Right to Access Act,” is a California bill that declares “abortion care is a constitutional right and an integral part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.” I think SB-24 is right, abortions are a constitutional right and a fundamental part of reproductive healthcare.

While the bill establishes important points about the right to abortions, the bill also motions to push the burden on providing abortion medication on California State University and University of California campuses.

This is not the first time a bill like this has worked its way up the California legislation system. Last year, former Gov. Jerry Brown (a Democrat) vetoed a similar bill, SB-320, but with a new governor comes new possibilities.

SB-24 and SB-320 were both written by Sen. Connie Leyva. Leyva introduced SB-24 in December 2018. According to her website, “SB-24 is an important step toward ensuring the right to abortion is available to all Californians and that our college students don’t face unnecessary barriers.”

As far as the financial burden goes, the bill has thought of that too. Both private and public sectors are going to be responsible for funding the bill. The money involved will go to a multitude of things: facility and security upgrades, a 24-hour phone line, billing specialists, training staff and more.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has until October to sign the bill into law or veto it. If it is signed into law, it will not take effect until January 2023, but public universities will be required to send a report to California legislature for review. The report will include things such as the number of students who seek abortions and the amount of funds that university received.

In light of the strong and aggressive restrictions in states like Alabama and Ohio, it is important that we are reminded of the right to our own bodies. As a woman, I, better than any man or legislation, understand that periods, on and off birth control, are and can be irregular. My right to say yes or no to any man, is a choice that I, and I alone, get to make for myself. My right to have sex, casually and without reservation is my right. All things the government cannot regulate.

I understand a consequence as a woman, good or bad, is that sex leads to pregnancy. I understand that there are preventative steps to avoid pregnancy — condoms, birth control, or just don’t have sex— but mistakes happen, and I shouldn’t have to deal with a lifetime of regrets and put off my education because I made a 5-minute mistake. I absolutely shouldn’t have to face those consequences if modern medicine has a solution to it.

Not only should the government not be allowed to regulate the sex lives of the American people, but if an abortion is needed or wanted, it should be provided. College has made sex more casual. When you live on campus with hundreds, and in some cases thousands of people and a majority of them are on dating (hookup) apps like Tinder and Grindr, as a society we need to expect that there are going to be the cases of broke college students making mistakes. 

Sex happens. Accidental or planned pregnancies happen. And when you’re far from home, or even just down the street, the idea of colleges and universities providing access to abortions lets women know that their school is in their corner if they need it.
I praise the steps California is taking, and let’s hope that the rest of the country soon follows suit. Minority communities seeking a higher education need someone to stand up for them in times like these.

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