College Activists in California Are Fighting To Access Abortion Pills On Campus

On Monday, May 21 almost 50 students from 14 different California universities headed to Sacramento, California in an effort to convince their legislators to support SB 320, the College Student Right to Access Act. The bill, which has already been passed by the California State Senate, would require on-campus health centers at public universities to provide the abortion pill.  

The student advocacy day stems from back in 2016 when a group of UC Berkeley students tried to get abortion medication into their health center, only to be denied by their administration. Two years later, students have been working towards the passing of SB 320, the bill introduced by Senator Connie M. Levya (D-Chino) and written by some of the student advocates. The bill still needs approval by the California State Assembly.

While the bill may seem controversial at first, polls show that over 60% of Californians support accessible abortion pills on college campuses. And student leaders of the movement, Adiba Khan and Marandah Rain Field-Elliot, furthered proved their case by getting over 2,000 signatures from their peers and 100 signatures from professors.

While they wait for the vote on the bill, the students are working hard for better reproductive health care at California schools. Khan is the co-founder of Berkeley Students United for Reproductive Justice, and Field-Elliot is a part of the organization as well. Along with other students, they work on the justCARE campaign to push the bill to pass.

“[The bill] will drastically improve access for students who have to go through financial, logistical and institutional barriers,” said Field-Elliot. “[The medication is] incredibly medically simple to provide.”

The state of California already recognizes abortion as a part of health care, so to these students, including it in university-sponsored health centers is the logical next step. The bill will be voted on next month.