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Cal Poly Health and Well-being Institutes Medical Abortion Pills for Students

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Poly chapter.

Access to reproductive healthcare became threatened significantly for the first time in nearly 50 years when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this past June. This resulted in abortions no longer being protected by the Constitution, making bans on abortions a state decision across the country. California remains one of the few states with zero bans or regulations on abortion resources and continues to be a safe haven for those seeking abortion resources in states that deny this right. California is the first state to bring further reproductive health to college campuses, including Cal Poly. Students will now be able to obtain abortion pills at the health center on campus. 

“After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I was left feeling scared and hopeless. I attended a protest, but it felt as if nothing would truly make a difference,” said Mia Epstein, a first-year Journalism student. “Once I heard that Cal Poly would have the abortion pill, I knew we were one step closer and that at least others were feeling how I was.” 

Cal Poly’s newest accessibility for reproductive health to students falls in compliance with the College Student Right to Access Act that took into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The act requires that all UC and CSU schools provide medical abortion resources as an implementation of on-campus health. Mifepristone and misoprostol will be available to students up to 10 weeks gestation, or 70 days after the start of the last menstrual period. 

While medical abortions being offered through campus health makes this new program more convenient for students, the cost is what makes it most accessible. The average cost of medical abortions at clinics like Planned Parenthood can be between 500 to 800 dollars. However, students can expect to pay only 40 to 80 dollars for Cal Poly’s reproductive services.

Campus Health and Wellbeing are also providing pregnancy testing, pregnancy options counseling, and abortion follow-up care and counseling alongside the medication. To access medical abortions at Campus Health, students can call 805-756-1211 to schedule a pregnancy testing, pregnancy options appointment, or medical abortion appointment. More information about what to expect with these services can be found on the Campus Health and Wellbeing website

The UC and CSU requirement follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalizing a rule also made earlier this year allowing retail pharmacies in states where abortion remains legal to sell mifepristone: another historic advancement for reproductive health. The pill will still require a prescription and will not be sold over the counter, but will be able to be obtained the same day, making it more accessible than ever before. This was once only available through health care providers, authorized clinics like Planned Parenthood, or through mailed abortion pills, also known as Plan C. These methods can take days and even weeks to obtain the abortion pill. This news is a major advancement in the accessibility of reproductive health in the U.S. 

Abortions can be administered in two ways: medically or an in-clinic procedure, both common and safe ways to end a pregnancy. Medical abortions, also known as the abortion pill, come in the form of two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone is taken first and blocks a hormone called progesterone, causing pregnancy growth to terminate. Misoprostol must be taken within 48 hours of taking mifepristone and empties the uterus through bleeding, like a heavier period flow, also causing heavy cramping; it is similar to experiencing an early miscarriage. Healthcare providers should be advised if no bleeding takes place within 24 hours after taking misoprostol, according to Planned Parenthood. 

Medical abortions have been FDA-approved for over 20 years and are very common, accounting for more than 50% of all abortions in the U.S. Abortion pills are also very effective, although effectiveness can depend on the weeks of pregnancy. For pregnancies eight weeks or less, the abortion pill is about 98% effective. Generally, the abortion pill can be taken up to 11 weeks after the first day of your last period. After 11 weeks, you can receive an in-clinic abortion. 

Individuals may choose a medical abortion compared to an in-clinic abortion for various reasons. The abortion pill allows individuals to administer their abortion in the privacy and comfort of their homes. 

Access to abortion options is a human health right, and requiring colleges to carry these medications makes this option less intimidating and stigmatizing for students, as well as more affordable and accessible. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. still has a long way to go when it comes to reproductive healthcare and freedom, but the College Student Right to Access Act in California is a step in the right direction. 

Gillian is a fourth-year at Cal Poly SLO. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child Development. Gillian is the Social Media Director and a writer for Cal Poly Her Campus this year. She enjoys writing about sustainable fashion, social issues, and current trends. Even though she is planning a career in psychology, she loves being a part of Her Campus because it allows her to have a creative outlet and continue her passion for writing.