California will become the first state in the nation to require public universities to offer abortion medication at campus health centers starting in 2023 under legislation signed Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Democratic lawmakers described the law as California’s latest step to defend abortion access as Republican-led states roll back access to the services.
“I am thrilled that Governor Newsom rejected the misguided paths that other states have taken in limiting access to abortion care,” Democratic Sen. Connie Leyva said in a statement. “Abortion is a protected right, and it is important that everyone — including college students — have access to that right, if they so choose.”
Newsom’s predecessor, fellow Democrat Jerry Brown, vetoed similar legislation last year — arguing it wasn’t necessary because abortion services were readily available off campus.
The law relies on private donations, not state dollars, to pay for the set up and services. The state hopes to raise more than $ 10 million.
All 34 University of California and California State University campuses would be required to provide the services. The process requires taking two pills and is an option for women who are less than 10 weeks pregnant.
The first pill, taken at the clinics, blocks the hormone progesterone. The second, taken a few days later at home, has an effect similar to a miscarriage.
Religious and anti-abortion groups opposed the bill. The University of California system has not taken a position.
More than 400,000 women attend public universities in the state.