California Senate Bill 24 passed the California State Assembly Higher Education Committee this Tuesday. The bill mandates that all college campuses in the State of California provide students who are pregnant up to 10 weeks with access to abortion inducing drugs on campus at no cost
The bill passed the California Senate earlier this year in May, and is expected to pass the California Assembly. Former California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in 2018 before he left office, however current Governor Gavin Newsom has expressed his support for Senate Bill 24.
Former Governor Brown stated in his veto message that the legislation was not needed as research showed that students on campus already had easy access to abortion facilities within five to seven miles distance.
According to CBS 13 Sacramento, institutions of higher learning have expressed misgivings over Senate Bill 24. Both the University of California and California State University school systems raised concerns about the cost.
“estimates proposed grants would be insufficient to cover costs in the readiness phase (2019 – 2023). We estimate a funding shortfall of $4.6 to $7.8 million across the 11 UC student health centers. Beginning January 1, 2023, no source of funding is provided in SB 24. Without funding, the student health centers will incur ongoing costs in the range of $2.2 to $3.2 annually. Unless financing is made available post 2023, by the state or foundation, this cost will fall to students.”
CSU raised a number of concerns:
- Equipment costs. Campuses will need to buy equipment to be in compliance. The CSU assumes a cost of $37,556 for ultrasound at each of our campuses (total of $863,788), and additional ongoing maintenance costs.
- Training costs. $10,067 per campus to provide training (total of $231,541).
- Establishing agreements with local hospitals. CSU doctors do not do inpatient care via the CSU, or have hospital admission privileges. Agreements are difficult to negotiate with local hospitals because CSU students are not required to have insurance, and it is unclear who would be responsible for paying the costs associated with the emergency room visit if the student did not have insurance.
- Liability. The CSU’s existing health malpractice insurance would likely cover the costs (settlements, judgments, defense attorney fees and costs), assuming a possibility that underwriters may increase premiums based on the number of claims. For any incident related to SB 24, the CSU would be responsible for the first $5 million of costs. Campus deductibles would range from $35,000 to $900,000, depending on the campus. The remaining costs would be covered by the California State University Risk Management Authority (CSURMA) fund, which is a system-wide pool to support all CSU risk financing operations.
- Billing. The CSU does not currently bill insurance, and it would be extremely costly to move to a billing system. While 12 CSU campuses utilize Family PACT, a publicly-funded, family planning clinical services program administered through the Department of Health Care Services, this is not the same as billing Medi-Cal or private insurers. Insurance-billing is not a viable option for CSU health centers.
Patrina Mosley, Family Research Council’s Director of Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy, debunked the arguments for this bill in her latest publication, “California’s Campus Abortion Mandate is Bad Model Legislation.”
The publication summarizes:
“This mandate shows a reckless disregard for the safety and health of young women and moreover creates considerable liability for the universities and all those involved, such as:
- College dorm rooms are unsafe environments to have an abortion.
- University student health centers (SHCs) are not equipped to handle adverse outcomes of on-campus abortions that may occur.
- The bill’s funding mechanism is purposefully vague.
- No conscience exemptions are offered for college health center staff who may object to dispensing the abortion pill.”
Family Research Council Director of Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy Patrina Mosley added the following comments:
“The state of California is vying to be the first state in the nation that would force institutions of education to become abortion facilities–with no safeguards for protecting taxpayer dollars.
“Chemical abortions are traumatic multi-day processes that come with a risk of serious adverse effect. No dormitory community is prepared to handle the liabilities such a mandate creates. The physical and psychological health of women is at considerable risk, and no state should consider it for model legislation,” concluded Mosley.
This is clearly an instance of the California State legislature attempting to push an unwanted political agenda on these institutions of higher learning.
[Editors Note]: Contact the California State Assembly and urge them to vote against this dangerous legislation.