By guest author Deborah Stilt — California Governor Gavin Newsom just signed SB24 into law, which mandates that public college campuses provide the abortion pill to students to “remove barriers to reproductive health.” Perhaps it’s easy for us in the pro-life movement to pass this off as just one more indicator that California has lost its collective mind. But there’s more to it—so very much more.
Imagine a world where a young woman visits a campus health center and learns she is pregnant. But instead of directing her to resources that will support her through her pregnancy and help her stay in school, health center staff hand her a dose of mifepristone. They tell her this will “fix” everything and be “easy,” and then send her back to her dorm with a dose of misoprostol to take on her own a day or two later. Nobody tells her that, for the next several days, she’ll go through agony, alone in a campus bathroom stall, experiencing the worst cramping and bleeding of her life. Nobody prepares her for the glimpse of the tiny embryo she might see as she’s passing blood and uterine tissue.
Is this a fictional world? Sadly, no. It’s a reality now in California.
On Friday, October 11th, despite numerous protests from pro-life groups throughout the state, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB24 into law—mandating that all public colleges in California provide the abortion pill (or RU-486) on campus. This law is dangerous and ill-advised, not to mention an egregious violation of federal conscience protections for both health center workers and students.
The dangers are front and center
The California State Department of Finance opposed the bill stating, “The Commission does not have the technical expertise nor existing capacity to develop and administer a program of this size, scope, or content.” They cited concerns over financial implications, lack of personnel expertise, and inadequate medical facilities in the student health centers. Many of the universities themselves expressed apprehension, as bringing abortion on campus invites significant liability.
While proponents of the measure state the goal is to “remove barriers to reproductive health,” they are, in fact, endangering students’ lives. The risks of chemical abortion are well-documented. To date, the FDA has confirmed at least 24 deaths, and more than 4,200 serious complications, including infections, blood loss requiring transfusions, incomplete abortions, sepsis, and more. A summary of the FDA report on these adverse events through December 31, 2018 is included here.
According to the RU-486 warning label:
“About 85% of patients report at least one adverse reaction following administration of Mifeprex and misoprostol, and many can be expected to report more than one such reaction.”
The label goes on to warn of heavy bleeding, defined as soaking through two full-size sanitary pads per hour and/or passing blood clots larger than the size of a lemon. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, which can be a sign of a serious infection, an ectopic pregnancy, or an incomplete abortion. Campus health centers are designed to handle basic triage and preventative care. They’re typically open part-time, during school hours, and are not equipped to deal with emergencies.
The FDA’s own guidelines for dispensing the abortion pill state that “Healthcare providers who would like to become certified to prescribe Mifeprex must have the ability to date pregnancies accurately and to diagnose ectopic pregnancies. Healthcare providers must also be able to provide any necessary surgical intervention, or have made arrangements for others to provide for such care.”
Who’s going to pay?
The costs to expand current facilities, so that health centers can adequately handle emergencies and meet FDA guidelines, are extremely prohibitive, and the law itself does not detail how it will be paid for. Currently, student health centers are funded through student fees. While donations will cover a portion of the initial implementation, no funding is provided after 2023. In response, the University of California system issued the following statement:
“Without funding, the student health centers will incur ongoing costs in the range of $2.2 to $3.2 million annually. Unless financing is made available post 2023, by the state or foundation, this cost will fall to students.”
It is estimated that each student will be forced to pay approximately $500 per year to cover their classmates’ abortions. Students will be compelled to choose between their education and being complicit in the deaths of pre-born children. Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins said, “This is about a fundamental transformation of the abortion industry and making it more commonplace.” Students for Life is already planning lawsuits to represent students who do not want their fees to fund abortions.
So why does all of this matter?
Perhaps it’s easy to pass this off as just one more indicator that California has lost its collective mind. But there is more to it—so very much more. Without so much as a chance to vote against it, thousands of young people and their families have been strong-armed into financially supporting something they find morally abhorrent. Now, thousands of families have yet another reason to worry about their daughter’s safety while she’s away at school.
I know, because I’m one of them.
My daughter is a 19-year-old sophomore at a California state university. She’s smart and determined and has worked hard to get where she is today. More importantly, she is compassionate, honest, and grounded in integrity, and these qualities mean more to me than her grades ever could.
But you know who she also is? My kid. And I would do everything in my power to make sure she’s okay. If she ever faces an unplanned pregnancy, I hope she will turn to me first; not to strangers who would offer to kill her child then send her on her way. I’d like to think that she’ll never end up in that situation, but all mothers worry. I know I’m not the only one.
Most of the students at my daughter’s school come from “good” families. When I first heard about SB24, all I could think about was how many more lives will be lost to abortion because of the “convenience” of on-campus clinics. How much more pressure to abort will be placed on these young women? And how many of these girls, if they were to turn to their families first, might find support? Many families would certainly be disappointed, but I think a lot of them would embrace their daughters and help them through it. I know I would.
But as mothers in California, we are left with nagging questions.
Have I raised my daughter to be strong enough to stand up for what is right when the “solution” is easy? When society and her friends and now her school all tell her she’s not really capable of staying in college and being a mom? And what about all the other lies: It’s not a baby yet, it’s just tissue, and it’s not even human?
She’s at the health center with the nurse, and the pill is in her hand…
She’s a “good” girl, but is she ready?
Deborah Stilt is the social media coordinator for the Personhood Alliance and has been active in pro-life media for several years. But most importantly, she’s a California mom who is fighting against the lies of the culture and for the protection of every human being without exception.