State Law Required Public Universities to Provide Abortion Pills. One Year Later, Many Students Are in the Dark.

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, an investigation by LAist found. Although the legislation entitles students to a free medication abortion on campus, eight of 10 University of California campus clinics failed to adequately inform students about the service, according to the investigation. Additionally, 11 of 23 California State University campus clinics did not have any information about medication abortion on their clinic websites or list it as a service offered.

Through conversations with students and faculty at multiple campuses, LAist found there was little information for students to obtain the pills. For example, at California State University-San Bernardino, abortion was mentioned only in small letters on a poster inside exam rooms at the health centre.

A student visiting the university clinic would not have known that abortion services were available until they saw the poster, already waited for a doctor or nurse. After LAist published its investigation, five CSU campuses and one UC campus added information to their websites.

California legislators created a £10.3 million fund of privately raised money to help universities implement the new law, but the funding did not include any requirements for campus clinics to inform students about the availability of medication abortion. 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. The student communities at each UC campus are unique," Heather Harper, a UC Health spokesperson wrote in an email. As a result, 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 as an option was mentioned only in one place: in small letters on a poster inside exam rooms at the health centre. A student wouldn't see that until they were already waiting for a doctor or nurse.

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," said Beth Jaworski, executive director of health, counselling, and wellness at CSU-San Bernardino. But it's one student. We haven't been providing the service very long. It's been just about a year now."

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.

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