Free abortion pills on California campuses: Students say “it’s a good thing”

There’s a new battleground for the debate over abortion: California’s public universities.

The Golden State could become the first in the country to require its public universities to offer abortion pills on campus under a legislative proposal that passed through the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday.

“This bill fundamentally is about access,” said Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, the bill’s author. “It’s about access to a woman’s constitutional right.”

Reflecting the political chasm between California and Washington, the proposal marks a stark contrast to the ongoing debate in Congress over women’s health — whether to cut federal funding from Planned Parenthood’s massive network of reproductive health clinics, which provide abortion services. While the California bill sailed through the health committee, it is already facing strong opposition from anti-abortion groups such as the California Family Council, which are emphasizing safety concerns and costs.

“To my knowledge, no other state has gone so far as to try to require chemical abortion coverage on campus,” said Jonathan Keller, CEO of the Fresno-based California Family Council. “Unfortunately, I think this is really an overreach by Sen. Leyva.”

Student activists at UC Berkeley raised the issue last year when they tried to convince the student health center to provide the pills and ran into roadblocks.

“I’m upset that abortion is so highly politicized,” said Adiba Khan, a junior and one of the leaders of the campaign, in a recent interview. “It’s not evil. It’s a good thing, and it should be easily accessible to anyone.”

Read the whole story in the Mercury News

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