Speaker 1: California lawmakers taking up a bill that could make the state the first to mandate medication abortion as required health service at public universities by 2022. Is this a good idea or a slippery slope for college students? Here to discuss is our panel, Bernadette Tasy, campus reform correspondent and a student at California State University, radiologist, Dr. Nicole Saphier, and Brad Micklin, a trial attorney.
Thank you all for being here. Bernadette, let’s start with you. Is this a good idea?
Bernadette: Thank you. Well, providing abortion on college campuses is not a good idea. This is not what universities are for. They should be focusing on educating students. The leadershipinstitutecampusreform.org reports on examples of universities taking on politically charged issues.
This is another example of the California legislature inappropriately pushing their political agenda on university students, but not only that, starting in 2022 the bill purposefully leaves the door open for taxpayer dollars and for student fees to fully fund the entire program. The UC and CSU systems are already estimating that the private donations that will be provided for the beginnings of this bill implementation would not be enough and that student fees would likely be funding part of this bill.
Speaker 1: Brad, Bernadette brings up a good point, and the question is, is this something schools should be doing versus focusing on the education of the students?
Brad: Well, I think the schools actually have the right to do that. The question is if they have the right or not. There’s no way to deny that the right to choose is deeply woven in the fabric of our law of society, and this is just a logical extension of that.
Speaker 1: Let’s go ahead and take a look at a statement here that we have from California Democratic Senator, Connie Leyva, the author of the bill. It says, “No woman makes this choice lightly…but when you need it, you need to have access.”
Dr. Nicole Saphier, for people who don’t know, why don’t you share a little bit of your story before we get into this.
Nicole: Medical abortion should not be confused with the morning after pill or Plan B, which by the way is already available in vending machines all across campuses. The morning after pill, you essentially take after you have unprotected sex to decrease the risk of developing an unwanted pregnancy. Medical abortion is a two-step medication that you take after a pregnancy is confirmed to abort said pregnancy.
Speaker 1: Right.
Nicole: My concerns are you take these two medications. You have to go. You have to get a prescription. You actually have to sign something saying that you’re taking this and that you’re going to be safe while taking it. It causes you to abort whatever is produced, and then unfortunately there are some risks with it. However, they are rare in the first trimester, if it’s taken the right way and under medical supervision.
Speaker 1: Right. For people who don’t know, though, you got pregnant at a very young age.
Nicole: Yes, I did.
Speaker 1: Tell part of your story.
Nicole: Well, at the age of 17 became pregnant myself. I was in high school, and I did make the decision myself to have the baby. I was a single parent in my senior year of high school as well as college, and it was very difficult. There are a lot of people who when they have a child in college, they do end up dropping out. Thankfully, I was not one of them, but people do that.
Now, I’m not going to get into the politics of it, but there already are abortion medications. There already are these services at college campuses. This is just another one, and although they’re talking about public funding of it, from legally at this point, correct me if I’m wrong, it sounds like they still have to be using private funds for the abortion medication whether you agree with it or not.
Speaker 1: Is that right?
Brad: Yes, but most of the funding issues that come into college campuses, especially private universities, would be considered private funding, and most of the federal funding, which may later become an issue with this kind of statue, is directed to the students themselves. There are billions of dollars that go to research and development grants to schools, but largely it’s going to be private funding.
Speaker 1: Okay. Let’s go to Bernadette right now, and let’s take a look at these numbers. 2.75 million women in the US have used the drug since 2000. That’s according to the manufacturer.
Bernadette, it begs the question if this is so easily accessible for girls, for women in college, does that take away a part of the decision making on behalf of the woman, like your actions? Right? You always have repercussions from your actions.
Bernadette: Right. Well, one thing I think that is very important to remember is that although the supporters of the bill say that they need more access to abortion, there is no lack of access to abortion in California. There’s an abortion pill provider within an average of about six miles of every CSU and UC campus, public university campus in California.
So, I hope this really speaks to the fact that this bill is truly unnecessary, and that higher education should be focusing on academics.
Speaker 1: Yeah. All right. Bernadette, Dr. Nicole, Brad Micklin, thank you for joining us. We’ll certainly be following this and see what happens.
Brad: Thanks for having us.