|For Immediate Release: October 11, 2019
SACRAMENTO, CA—This morning, California Governor Gavin Newsom held a ceremony alongside NARAL Pro-Choice California and other advocates for reproductive freedom and justice where he signed into law the College Student Right to Access Act (SB 24). This groundbreaking piece of legislation expands abortion care at California’s public university health centers, making California the first state in the nation to do so. Gov. Newsom also highlighted his signing of NARAL-sponsored SB 464, which will address bias in reproductive healthcare and reduce California’s high rates of pregnancy-related deaths among Black women, and NARAL-supported AB 1264, which will make it easier for Californians to access contraception through telehealth.
“Today, California has taken a significant step to expand reproductive freedom and guarantee that the right to abortion care is accessible to hundreds of thousands of California’s public university students,” said NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Hovis. “Governor Newsom’s signature of SB 24 makes good on his commitment as governor of the most populous state in the nation to stand with the 7 in 10 Americans who support the right to legal abortion and lead the country through this dark period characterized by politicians who seek to restrict women’s freedoms for their own political agendas.”
“With Governor Newsom’s signature of SB 24, students at University of California and California State University campuses will finally be able to get medication abortion services at on-campus student health centers,” Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) said. “After three years of working to expand access to medication abortion at our public universities, I am thrilled that Governor Newsom rejected the misguided paths that other states have taken in limiting access to abortion care. Abortion is a protected right, and it is important that everyone—including college students—have access to that right, if they so choose. I thank the Governor and my legislative colleagues for upholding the right to choose and affirming the right of college students to access medication abortion on campuses here in California.”
At the end of May, Gov. Newsom issued a Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom, reaffirming California’s commitment to protecting Californians’ reproductive rights and had previously signaled that SB 24 would have his support when it got to his desk.
Background on SB 24
Each month, hundreds of California’s public university students are unable to obtain abortion care on-campus, forcing them to travel long distances to access care — often with serious logistical and financial barriers — to the detriment of their academic success and well-being. Some students have had to pay exorbitant copays, had trouble finding a clinic that takes their insurance, and experienced several weeks of delays in getting the care they need. California has long affirmed the right to abortion care. The College Student Right to Access Act makes this right a reality for the hundreds of thousands of students who attend California’s public universities.
SB 24, which was sponsored by various reproductive freedom and justice organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice California, gained widespread support from more than one hundred organizations. NARAL Pro-Choice California members and pro-choice activists stepped up early in support of SB 24 and have worked tirelessly for its passage, through lobby days, phone calls, tabling, and gathering petition signatures.
In May 2019, sixty NARAL members traveled to the Capitol to voice their support for critical pieces of reproductive healthcare legislation, which included SB 24, SB 464 to address the state’s high rates of black maternal mortality, and SB 135 to expand access to paid family leave.
NARAL Pro-Choice California has paved the way for progressive, proactive campaigns and legislation that raise the bar for reproductive freedom and abortion access and level the playing field for women and families in all 50 states. NARAL will continue to fight to ensure reproductive freedom is a reality for everyone in California and across the country.