Bill proposing medical abortions on college campuses, reintroduced to state legislature

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SB 24, if passed, would bring the medical abortion pill to public California colleges, including those in Fresno, Merced and more.

“Abortion is healthcare, it is not separate from healthcare,” Non-profit ACT for Women and Girls Policy Director Sarah Hutchinson said. 

ACT co-sponsored SB 24.

Hutchinson says, it’s about access for first-generation and low-income students, who may use health centers for primary care.

She says, costs to implement the bill, would be privately funded.

“The training, the ultrasound, that funding is 100% coming from private donations,” Hutchinson said. “We have to maybe technically call it a procedure at times, but it is just the dispensing of a pill to the students who need them.”

“There are serious risks of heavy bleeding, infection,” Right to Life of Central California Director John Gerardi countered. 

Gerardi, heading to Sacramento, Wednesday, to lobby against the legislation.

“A student health center is not supposed to do all things, it’s supposed to do a few limited things, and this is beyond the scope of what a student health center is supposed to do,” Gerardi said. 

Gerardi says, the bill doesn’t provide for long-term funding, and does not ban school money from being used.

He worries about the liability.

“There’s just a lot of common-sense reasons that don’t have anything to do with your ideological belief about abortion, why the universities should not involve themselves in this program,” Gerardi said.

He also questions the message sent to parenting students.

“‘You can’t be a mother and achieve educational success,’ and we want to present the message that, yes, you can,” Gerardi said.

Hutchinson says, her group does support parenting students, and has even sponsored past legislation to help them.

She says, this fight is about every person’s ability to choose.

“Pro-choice means choosing to be a parent or choosing to not be a parent,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson also says, through the legislation, staff will be trained to bill to Medi-Cal.

We reached out to Senator Melissa Hurtado’s office for a statement. She is on the health committee, but her staff has not offered one by the time of this broadcast.

Reporting at Fresno State, Megan Rupe.

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