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Abortion on College Campuses:
A New Low for the Abortion Industry
Bernadette Tasy, M.A.| 05 September 2019
California’s Senate Bill 24 would require all 34 public universities to distribute RU-486 abortion drugs from their student health centers. This bill failed last year, under the name SB-320, when pro-choice, former governor Jerry Brown, vetoed it because the program “is not necessary.” There are numerous flaws in the bill itself; pro-life and pro-choice alike oppose it. The University of California and California State University systems do not support it, and the current governor’s Department of Finance recently released an analysis stating that it opposes the bill. Several pro-life organizations are active on the local and state levels, taking this opportunity to educate communities about the abortion pill procedure.
Our Catholic faith calls us to be active in ending the injustice of abortion in our society. The Society of St. Sebastian analyzes all aspects of the pro-life movement in an effort to educate lobbyists and pro-life activists about the abortion industry’s latest strategies to increase abortion numbers around the world. This article examines one of the more recent approaches—mandating that abortion pill access be at students’ very fingertips, right on a college campus.
California Senate Bill 24.
California’s Senate Bill 24 [i] is another attack on human life and an extreme push from the abortion industry to increase the number of abortions in America’s most pro-abortion state. This legislation seeks to mandate the distribution of abortion drugs on all 34 public university campuses in California from their student health centers.
An understanding of the bill first requires an understanding of the RU-486 abortion pill procedure. Abortion vendors sell this method as an abortion that is easy and less "invasive,” but this procedure is not so simple. The process includes two doses of pills; the first pill, mifepristone, is taken in the clinic. [ii] This blocks the progesterone hormone from entering the uterus, breaks down its lining, and ultimately prevents the nourishment of the human embryo or fetus. One to two days later, after the baby has died, the woman takes another set of pills, misoprostol. These two pills together cause heavy bleeding and contractions that effectively induces labor. The woman is told to sit on the toilet and flush. The baby is expelled from the uterus into the toilet, and his or her lifeless body is flushed into the sewer.
Abortion drugs are sold as a “simple fix” to a complex issue, though it is a serious procedure that can have several complications. UpToDate [iii], a resource accessed by millions of clinicians worldwide, states that though abortion drugs may avoid a surgery, it is a longer process when compared to surgical first trimester abortions. It also states that the patient “usually experiences more uncomfortable effects and over a longer period of time (bleeding, cramping, nausea, vomiting).” The woman has a “greater awareness of the blood loss and may be able to identify pregnancy tissue that passes…some patients will require a surgical abortion if the medication abortion is unsuccessful.” The Food and Drug Administration approved RU-486 in the year 2000, but it has cited thousands of hospitalizations and 24 deaths caused by these drugs since then. [iv]
The word “telehealth” is also mentioned in the bill three times with no explanation; it has not been discussed in hearings or analyses, yet legislators continue to vote in favor of the program. The abortion lobby is known for its use of vague language with no explanation and continues to do so throughout this very bill. Another example demonstrates this: SB-24 states, “Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as requiring a public university to utilize General Fund moneys or student fees for medication abortion readiness before January 1, 2023”—the author repeatedly leads her audiences to believe that student fees will not be used; however, nothing is prohibiting the use of general funds or student fees before this date, and the bill’s statement implies that student fees and general funds will be required to fund the bill after the 2023 date. The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems confirmed this in several committee analyses. [v] Though questions about telehealth [vi] services have been posed in letters and staffer meetings, no one has been able to offer an answer, and the representatives have yet to understand for what they are voting.
Dr. Daniel Grossman, a licensed OB/GYN and a witness who has testified on behalf of this legislation several times in the past year and a half, stated that at least 3% of the time, the woman requires a follow-up surgical abortion, though numerous sources, including one that Grossman co-authored, state that the failure rate is about 3% only when the woman has an abortion at six weeks pregnancy. If the woman is in the later-accepted stages, the failure rate is over 15%. [vii] The bill’s proponents expect that about 500 students would utilize these services each month. This means that between 15-75 students per month will need a follow-up surgical abortion to complete the process. These women would effectively be getting two abortions. This raises more questions about the “safety” of the pills and the financial burden it would place on taxpayers and students.
Estimates for time taken to travel to the abortion pill provider are based on public transportation, taking much more time than a car service. A car service has a small charge, but is much faster than the 30-minute bus route estimate presented by proponents of the bill. Last year, the author stated that this car service cost would be more of a burden for students; however, if a student receives Medi-Cal services, transportation to abortion-related appointments is provided for free. The UC and CSU systems both stated in committee analyses that the passage of SB-24 would result in student fee increases. Although this bill should be saving students from spending money on transportation, it will ultimately cost them more in their mandatory student fees. [viii]
Governor Gavin Newsom’s chief financial advising department, the Department of Finance, opposed the bill in a powerful, detailed analysis of the bill’s shortcomings [ix]: “The Commission does not have the technical expertise nor existing capacity to develop and administer a program of this size, scope, or content.” They agree with the university systems that the cost for each abortion would be at least $500, contrary to the author’s promise of “free abortions.” This is coming from one of the most pro-abortion administrations, demonstrating the extremist position the abortion lobby has taken.
The UC has also stated several times in committee hearing testimonies that this bill was brought about because of a failure in the referral process—not due to “lack of abortion access.” Each hearing has provided testimony from supporters of the bill that include experiences of having to “wait too long” to take the abortion pill because of a failure to refer the student to the correct facility, thus disqualifying the student from being able to take the abortion pill and rather having a surgical abortion. This bill should be focusing on the cause of the problem, not creating a very expensive alternative and labeling it as a solution to a non-existent problem.
As pointed out during the most recent hearing, the UC and CSU stated numerous times that they would like to continue “working with the author” on this bill, though their witness testimony has changed very little from the first hearing in April 2017. They state strong concerns regarding their own health facilities and still have not endorsed the bill, and as one Assemblyman stated during the Assembly Higher Education Committee Hearing in June 2019, the university systems oppose the program but are too afraid to officially oppose any pro-abortion legislation.
Though the author continues to cite cases in which abortion is located 15 miles from abortion pill providers, universities like Cal Poly, located 1.7 miles from an abortion pill provider, continue to be included in this bill’s mandate. Mandating all 34 public universities to provide abortion pills would require ongoing costs that do not fit even the author’s rationale for this program. On average, abortion pill providers are located within six miles of every public university campus in California, a point that pro-choice former governor, Jerry Brown, made in his veto letter last year [x] under the name “Senate Bill 320.” Two representatives who normally voted for pro-abortion legislation also previously voted “no” on the bill, while several abstained. Big and small victories like these reveal that the abortion industry is not indestructible.
Despite the advantages this bill’s supporters have in California, whose legislature holds a super-majority of pro-abortion representatives, pro-life activists have yet to be discouraged in their fight against abortion. An effort from several pro-life organizations have come together to compile information about RU-486 abortion pills, practice California-specific legislative strategies, and learn from university officials to organize effective talking points that have won over self-identified pro-choice individuals from the community and even the Capitol. Whether or not the bill passes, the continuous move towards the theme of “abortion access at any cost” may be the beginning of the end of abortion in California.
[i] See https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB24.
[ii] See https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2018/12/state-abortion-policy-landscape-hostile-supportive.
[iii] See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRDnVSMr5j0.
[iv] See https://www.uptodate.com/contents/first-trimester-pregnancy-termination-medication-abortion.
[v] See https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information.
[vi] See http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB24.
[vii] See https://www.acog.org/-/media/Practice-Bulletins/Committee-on-Practice-Bulletins----Gynecology/Public/pb143.pdf.
[viii] See http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB24.
[ix] See http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB24.
[vii] See https://www.lifenews.com/2018/10/11/heres-planned-parenthoods-master-plan-on-how-to-abort-babies-if-roe-is-overturned/.
[viii] Student health centers on California public university campuses do not bill for insurance. The services are funded by mandatory student fees embedded in tuition costs.
[ix] See http://www.dof.ca.gov/legislative_analyses/LIS_PDF/19/SB-24-20190809062042PM-SB00024.pdf.
[x] See http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billStatusClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB320.
Bernadette Tasy, M.A., President, Fresno Pro-Life Future; California State Captain, Students for Life Action.
Ms. Tasy is a former Campus Reform correspondent, appearing on Fox News and other national media. She has had her work published in Townhall and The Federalist and quoted in the Washington Post. She served as the president of Students for Life at Fresno State for three years and recently graduated with honors from Fresno State University with a Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology..