One Year After Requirement, Basic Information on Abortion Pills Lacking at Many California Public University Campuses

One year after California became the first state to require its public universities to provide abortion pills to students, basic information on where or how students can obtain the medication is lacking, and often, nonexistent, according to a report by LAist.

Eleven of the 23 campuses of the California State University (CSU) system failed to provide information on their website about medication abortion, and eight of the ten campuses of the University of California (UC) system did so, according to the report. After the article was published, five CSU campuses and one UC campus added information to their websites.

Through conversations with students and faculty at multiple campuses, LAist found that there was little information available for students to obtain the pills. Connie Leyva, the former Pomona-area state senator who authored the bill, said she was disappointed in the law's implementation, but not surprised.

Spokesperson Ryan King said UC President Michael Drake did not comment. Heather Harper, a spokesperson for UC Health in Drake's office, wrote in an email that ``communication to students at each location takes different forms and may include website content, flyers, emails, person-to-person conversations or other methods."

At Gomez's San Bernardino campus, abortion was mentioned only in small letters on a poster inside exam rooms at the health center. Beth Jaworski, executive director of health, counseling, and wellness at CSU-San Bernardino, said ''we need to work harder if there is a student who needed the service and wasn't aware that they could access it through us and not have to pay for it," but added that it's been only about a year since they started providing the service.

Medication abortion has since been added to the list of services on the clinic's website. Ray Murillo, California State University's interim assistant vice chancellor of student affairs, said he and other administrative staffers are developing guidance so campuses share the same information ``to help in our training efforts for the frontline staff and providers when they're being asked questions about the service and what we provide."

Gomez wants more done, including flyers, emails, and social media posts directed at both faculty and students. ``You want to market the football games, you want to market the volleyball games. Why is that important, and abortions are not?'' she said.

This article is from a partnership that includes LAist, NPR and KFF Health News.