SB 320

A new bill introduced to the California state senate “would require on-campus student health insurance plans offered by California State University, the California Community Colleges and the University of California to include coverage of the abortion pill, which can be taken up to 10 weeks after a woman’s last period. The bill would not cover surgical abortions” according to the Daily Californian*.  

This bill was jumpstarted by UC Berkeley Junior Adiba Khan and alumna Meghan Warner in 2015 through an on campus program called Students United for Reproductive Justice.  This bill, introduced on March 10, comes at a perfect time with continuing threats from the Republican backed House and Senate to defund Planned Parenthood, through the newly dismantled American Health Care Act also known as “Trump Care”.  

SB 320 does not cover surgical abortions, but does require all UC, CSU and community college campuses that have a student health center to provide abortion counseling and the safe, legal abortion pill that can be taken orally within the ten week period of a female’s last period which is covered under their student health care plan.  Since this bill does require additional funds, according to the proposed bill “The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.**” Meaning the state would be required to reimburse the schools for the added health care.  

This bill is being introduced on the grounds that this is not only a women’s health issue, but a public health issue.  The bill states that “Abortion care is a constitutional right and an integral part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care” and that “Students seeking early pregnancy termination, especially those enrolled at institutions outside of major urban centers, face prohibitively expensive travel, often without reliable means of transportation, to a clinic that may be hours from their campus, out of their city, county, or even geographic region. These financial and time burdens negatively impact academic performance and mental health.**”

This bill, if passed would be the first in the nation to provide a safe, legal and efficient access to abortion for all college students.  20 year old student Adiba Khan told the San Francisco Chronicle “For undergrads and graduate students, abortion is part of their life. It’s normal and should be available as easily and cheaply as possible.***”

This is not the first time UC Berkeley has been in the spotlight this year after protesting the Milo Yiannopoulos from guest speaking at their school due to racist and homophobic comments. This sparked President Trump to tweet “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”  

Although the president has not commented on the issue, most likely his anti-abortion views will cause a stir between the state and the Executive branch again.

Sources:

*The Daily Californian

**Bill Text 

***The San Francisco Chronicle

 

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