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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

State Senator re-introduces bill requiring public universities to offer abortion pill

Abortion pill bill previously vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown re-introduced

State Senator Connie Leyva reintroduced a bill to the California legislature that would require the health centers of public universities in California to offer abortion-inducing medication.

After Governor Brown previously vetoed the bill, Levya became committed to its reintroduction.

“According to a study sponsored by supporters of this legislation, the average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles, not an unreasonable distance,” Brown wrote in his veto message for the bill. “Because the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus, this bill is not necessary.”

Shabira Rogers, a third-year political science and Chinese double major and the event coordinator for the California Women’s List chapter at UC Davis, however, said that this is not always the case. She described a number of factors which often prevent access to abortion services.

“You can’t get any abortion care in Davis,” Rogers said. “The closest place you could go is Woodland. The problem is [that] getting there is an issue. If you don’t have a car, you have to take the bus. If you’re a low-income student especially, you might not be able to afford to take time off work to go to Woodland.”

A statement from Leyva’s office pointed to research done by UCSF that found students at public universities in California obtain 1,038 abortions every month. Medication abortions account for 519 of the 1,038.

“This bill will ensure that once a student has decided to end a pregnancy, they will not be forced to go off campus and face barriers such as additional cost, traveling long distances, or even missing class or work to get the care they need,” Leyva said in the statement.

The California Women’s List is an organization which supports and fundraises for pro-choice Democratic women who are seeking election, and the chapter at UC Davis sponsored the original bill when it was first introduced. According to Rogers, the chapter supports the reintroduction of the bill.

Rogers said the chapter believes this bill is important because it supports the right for individuals to choose want they want to do with their bodies.

“We just believe that everyone should have a right to choose […] whether they want to have children or not and when they want to have children,” Rogers said. “We think that public universities with health centers should be like any other health center or hospital — they should provide access to safe abortion medication, especially first trimester. We think it’s a human right to be able to do what you want to do with your body and take care of yourself however you would like to.”

The bill, according to Rogers, would ease the stress students and Davis residents face regarding reproductive care and support for women’s right to abortions.

“For students, you could just go to a health center and hopefully you’ll be covered by the insurance you’re on or the UC Davis insurance,” Rogers said. “It would be pretty easy to go to it if you do require to take the abortion pill, so it’s simpler and less complicated if it is given in Davis. As women, it will entrench the fact that women will have the right to choose, and if the bill is passed, it will be concrete, and people will hopefully continue to make sure women’s reproductive rights and women’s health in general isn’t attacked.”

Written by: Sabrina Habchi — campus@theaggie.org  


  1. It’s terrible that Senator Leyva never addressed the extremism in the bill. The last time around, with Senate Bill 320, she was addressed by three assembly members (Waldron, Nazarian, and Bigelow) about the public funding aspect. The parallel sections in SB 24 are Sections 99251.b(6) and 99251.c.

    “Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as requiring a public university to utilize General Fund moneys or student fees for medication abortion readiness before January 1, 2023.” She and her coauthors stop short of creating a prohibition. The door is wide open after Jan 2023.

    “The commission, working with the public university student health centers, shall assist and advise on potential pathways for their student health centers to access public and private payers to provide funding for ongoing costs of providing abortion by medication techniques.” Right there it is explicit that they don’t want to rely solely on private funds or billing. They want to compel me and millions of Californians to pay for more elective abortions in our state. Many people like me–students, youth, people of color–don’t want to be involved. Out of our own pocket, voluntarily, we help pregnant and parenting students and students facing hard times. But we don’t want to pay for abortions, or sanction the use of taxpayer-funded facilities. Last year Leyva promised Waldron during a committee hearing that the apparent loophole that allowed public funding would be closed up, but it never was.

    And that’s not to say anything about Leyva’s dismissal of conscientious objectors in the health center–people who don’t want to be involved with the abortion procedure. That’s a huge topic all on its own. Nurses affiliated with the public university system spoke against SB320 at the Capitol. Campus health center workers will lose their jobs with this bill as law. “They don’t have to work there if they don’t want to,” is an exact quote from Senator Leyva.


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