California Reintroduces College Right to Access Act

Sunday, March 3, 2019 blog Share

Law would make abortion pills available on state campuses


California lawmakers are making a second attempt to require state university health centers to provide medication abortion.

Outgoing governor Jerry Brown vetoed the College Right to Access Act last year, claiming that University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) students don't need to be able to access medication abortion on-campus because they can go to off-campus clinics. Supporters refiled the bill in December 2018 for the 2019 legislative session, arguing that forcing an estimated 300 to 500 students to travel off campus for abortion care each month is an unreasonable burden.

Every single one of California's 34 public university campuses has an on-campus health center offering every other form of primary care, including reproductive health services such as routine exams, STD testing, and IUD placement. These centers also meet all the state's legal requirements for providing medication abortion: private exam rooms, the ability to perform pregnancy testing and counseling, and state-licensed clinicians. There is no reason to force students off campus to receive abortion care when they could easily have all their other health care needs met on campus.

In addition, most UC and CSU campuses are more than five miles from the nearest clinic, and 2/3 of UC students and 1/3 of CSU students don't own cars. That means these students have to take time away from classes, homework, and jobs to commute up to 2 hours each way to their appointments on public transit. This is a particular hardship for the 51% of UC and CSU students who are low-income. If they don't have a job with a flexible schedule (and most college students don't), making them travel off-campus for care also threatens their financial stability. It can even delay their care past the ten-week limit for an early abortion with pills and force them to have a more expensive medical procedure.

The College Right to Access Act is expected to pass both houses of the legislature again this year, and new California governor Gavin Newsom has pledged to sign it into law. But no one, in California or anywhere else, should have to risk their education, job, housing, or future in order to access a form of abortion care that's been proven safe over almost 20 years. If getting to a clinic is difficult for you, self-managed abortion with pills might be the answer. Visit us at to find out more about how the pills work, how to get them, how to take them properly, what to expect after taking them, and more.