Attending a public university in California, I am quite lucky. Not only am I lucky enough to have access to an education, diverse campus and academic resources, I also have access to reproductive health services.
The Calpulli Center here on campus offers family planning services, STD testing and is one way to get condoms easily. Similarly, organizations on campus such as Planned Parenthood Generation Action hold bi-weekly meetings aimed to educate on topics such as healthy relationships and different contraceptive methods.
A recent bill was just signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. The bill, SB 24, which would require “each student health care services clinic on a California State University or University of California campus to offer abortion by medication techniques,” was just recently signed into law this October.
This is a major victory because it allows abortion access on California public campuses; however, this access is restricted on almost all other types of campuses. No other educational institution has implemented anything like SB 24, and at most other schools, abortion access is simply nonexistent.
If our schools are supposed to cover all of our basic healthcare needs, why is abortion not included?
With the introduction of SB 24, the question is raised: why is this sort of care not available everywhere? Opposition to the bill cited that the legislation would allow for a pregnant person to “kill an unborn child up to 10 weeks of life” and refers to colleges as “abortion vendors.” This type of language and opposition perpetuates the stigma of abortion; regardless of your personal opinions about it, no legislature or university has the right to deny any person access to an abortion.
I am a poor college student who is barely figuring out how to navigate adult life. If I became pregnant, I would be at peace knowing that here, at a CSU school, I have the option to do what is right for me.
What about those who do not have this access? What about those who cannot afford a chemical or surgical abortion? Or those who do not even have the means to travel off campus or out of state to receive one?
I think what people fail to realize is that college is the worst time to get pregnant. Resources need to be available to all students in case this is to occur. The abortion pill should be made at all educational institutions, regardless if its public or private, religiously-affiliated or not.
Since the several months I have been at SDSU, I believe it is a very sex-postitive campus. Again, I am one of the lucky ones.
Boston College will not allow their Students for Sexual Health club to be formally recognized and Notre Dame flat out denies access to birth control for students. Religious freedom means being able to practice your religion as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. Denying employees and students ample access to abortion or contraception. infringes on their rights. Preach all you want that abortion is wrong, but don’t restrict my access to it.
Frankly, I’m tired of abortion access and reproductive health being up for debate. Opposition to things like SB 24 are rarely not centered around religion; I grew up around religion and understand why abortion is not supported. But, please, keep your holy book out of my uterus. People should not have to beg and plead with society and with legislators that they deserve the basic right of healthcare and a right to privacy. Recent “heartbeat bills” proposed in states like Pennsylvania prove that this discussion is frustratingly, far from over.
The Fourth Amendment guarantees my right to privacy and legitimizes Roe v. Wade. Why is the Second Amendment often cited in government for people to protect their guns? Yet the Fourth Amendment is often ignored in this very discussion. Roe v. Wade needs to be codified, the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion, with some exceptions needs to be repealed and we need to stop debating whether or not people deserve reproductive rights. Because we do.
Universities constantly perpetuate the idea that their campus is the place where students should come to grow, learn and be their best selves. How can people do this if they’re worried about reproductive health and can’t rely on their university, where they live, learn and potentially work, to provide this for them?
The resources we have here at SDSU are great and should be implemented everywhere Reproductive care should be 100% normalized, 100% free and 100% accessible at every campus across America. While we celebrate the passage of SB 24 as a huge step in the right direction, we can’t stop fighting for the reproductive rights of our peers across the country and across the world.
Sam Mason is a freshman studying criminal justice. Follow her on Twitter @sammmason.