Last week the California Department of Finance announced its opposition to SB 24, a bill author Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) hopes will bring medical abortions to California’s college campuses. In a report presented to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Aug. 14, the department officially opposed the measure, finding the “significant” costs likely generated by the measure too burdensome for students, universities, and taxpayers.
SB 24 will require all UC and CSU student health centers to provide medical abortions to students by January 2023. The bill would create a fund administered by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls to provide a $200,000 grant to each public university student health center for abortion readiness upgrades and to develop associated back-up medical supports.
While the DOF praised the bill’s goal to bring medical abortions onto UC and CSU campuses, it gave a scathing assessment of the Commission’s ability to provide and administer essential funding. “The Commission does not have the technical expertise nor existing capacity to develop and administer a program of this size, scope, or content,” according to the analysis. While the bill assumes private funding will be available to prepare university student health centers to offer the abortions, the DOF found it will more “likely create significant General Fund cost pressures” for the universities to comply with the bill if sufficient private funding can’t be raised or if the campuses incur ongoing costs after January 1, 2023.
The analysis also noted the bill will require student health centers – which are currently supported by student fees and primarily offer triage and preventive services – to establish complicated medical billing systems and develop medical bill expertise. Assemblyman Vince Fong said the report validates the long-time pro-life view that the bill is unworkable and unnecessary. “This bill not only devalues the sanctity of life, it redirects valuable resources away from education,” Fong said. “Sacramento should pursue policies that give a voice to the voiceless and this bill does the exact opposite.” Substantially similar legislation, SB 320 (Leyva), was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018. University health centers currently refer students seeking abortions to community providers located an average of six miles from public university campuses. DOF SB 24 Analysis:
From an Aug.16 release from Californians for Life