The bill was introduced last year, but just came out of committee to be debated on the floor. Daveynin | Creative Commons

A bill that would require the Cal Poly Health Center to offer medical abortion has passed in the California Senate and will be debated at the Assembly. Medical abortion is non-surgical and induces abortion by ingesting a pill. 

SB 320, introduced by Sen. Connie Leyva, would establish a fund, supported by private donations, to pay for student health centers to provide the abortion pill, which can be taken orally within 10 weeks of conception. This would apply to the California State University and University of California systems.

“Termination of a pregnancy is a constitutionally protected right and women should be able to access that right in a timely, safe and financially feasible way,” Levya said at the third Senate hearing of the bill Jan. 29.

The Senate passed the bill 25-13.

Karen Meckstroth, a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, spoke in favor of the bill.

“The evidence is clear that medical abortion is about 98 percent effective for early abortion and extremely safe,” Meckstroth said. “Even Tylenol and Viagra have narrower safety margins and higher risk than these medications.”

Sen. John Moorlach voted against the measure because he said he did not feel comfortable providing access to abortion through a state-funded office with some taxpayers objecting to medical abortion.

“I’m wondering why we need to have state involvement and state costs involved here when a private foundation can do this without state involvement or state expenditures,” Moorlach said.

When the bill was introduced in April 2017, 24 speakers in public comment were in favor — including the American Civil Liberties Union of California and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California — and 10 speakers were opposed.  

If the bill passes in the Assembly without any changes, it will be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk to be signed.

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