California · Education

CSU, UC begin to fast-track supplying abortion pills to campuses

As California’s efforts to enshrine abortion access continue, the University of California and California State University are working to provide medication abortions on all campuses by Jan. 1, 2023.

So far, none of the Cal State campuses offer medication abortions, and access within the UC system varies from campus to campus. Both university systems, however, say they are on track to implement a law passed in 2019 requiring their student health centers to provide access to the pills.

As many as 6,228 students could seek medication abortions on UC and Cal State campuses each year, once they are available, according to Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, a research program at the University of California San Francisco.

Making medication abortions available on college campuses would likely free up appointments at clinics throughout the state that could then be sought by people living in areas of California where abortion access is limited or in other states where it is now illegal, multiple reproductive health experts and advocates said.

Each month, between 322 and 519 students at Cal State and UC seek medication abortions, according to a 2018 report published by UCSF’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health.

As campuses start providing medication abortions, many students will spend less time on the road and will see out-of-pocket costs decrease. Getting a medication abortion often involves a couple of appointments — either in person or virtually —  and receiving a prescription.

The University of California Student Health Insurance Plan, which is required for students, covers the costs of medication abortions.

However, students in the Cal State system — and those who waive the insurance requirement at the UC — will have to pay to receive the medications. Sacramento State University expects the cost of medications would be between $60 and $80.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.