State law required campus clinics to offer abortion pills. They aren't advertising it.

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, an LAist investigation has found.

Eleven of the 23 campuses of the California State University system and nine of the 10 campuses of the University of California system did not include information about abortion medication on their campus medical clinic websites or lists of services. After LAist contacted UC Berkeley and CSU Long Beach, the two campuses added information to their websites.

The lack of advertising of abortion services on campus conflicts with legislation passed in 2019 that required the state's public universities to offer abortion pills to students. The law took effect in January 2023 and provided each campus with $200,000 in one-time funding to pay for the medication and cover costs such as facility upgrades, equipment, training, telehealth services, and security upgrades.

Former state Sen. Connie Leyva, who authored the bill, said she was disappointed in the implementation of the law but not surprised. Leyva said she does not recall any conversations about the need to advertise the availability of abortion services on campus. She believes university presidents who are opposed to abortion will not prioritize advertising the service.

Spokesperson Ryan King said UC President Michael Drake did not comment. In an email, Heather Harper, a spokesperson for UC Health in Drake's office, wrote 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 California State University-San Bernardino, where Deanna Gomez completed her senior year, abortion was only mentioned on a poster in small letters inside exam rooms at the health center. Beth Jaworski, executive director of health, counseling, and wellness at CSU-San Bernardino, said they need to do more to inform students of the service but acknowledged that the campus has only been providing the service for about a year. Ray Murillo, California State University's interim assistant vice chancellor of student affairs, said guidance was being developed to help campuses share information consistently.

Gomez, who completed her bachelor's degree in December, said she was upset that she spent hundreds of dollars and traveled hundreds of miles for an abortion at a clinic off campus when the medication was available on campus. She believes universities should treat promoting abortion services like they would any other service. "You want to market the football games, you want to market the volleyball games. Why is that important, and abortions are not?" she said.

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