California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) decided over the weekend to veto a bill that would have required public universities to supply abortion pills to pregnant students who requested them.
In the surprising move, Brown argued it just isn’t necessary for the health centers at either California State University or the University of California to provide mifepristone, given abortion clinics are not far away from the public campuses.
“The average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles, not an unreasonable distance,” he wrote in a statement. “Because the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus, this bill is not necessary.”
— Students for Life (@StudentsforLife) October 1, 2018
State Rep. Connie Leyva (D), who sponsored the legislation, said she plans to reintroduce the bill next session because “a woman should always have the right to decide when she incorporates a family into her life,” according to The Mercury News.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that students at UC Berkeley began pushing for the abortion legislation after their work to get their campus to provide abortifacients failed in 2016. It’s customary for on-campus health centers to decline abortion services and instead refer students to off-campus clinics.
Outside groups, like the Women’s Foundation of California and the Tara Health Foundation, reportedly pledged grants of $200,000 to both the UC and CSU campuses, if Brown had OK’d the bill. The money would have been used to train staff and to pay for after-hours services.
The pro-life group Live Action praised Brown for nixing the proposal:
GREAT NEWS: California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have forced public colleges to dispense abortion pills for students to induce their own abortions. https://t.co/qzViXHX3DW
— Live Action (@LiveAction) October 1, 2018
And Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins described the governor’s decision as a “win” for the pro-life cause, but cautioned the fight is “not over.”
“Today’s veto is a victory for all women, students, and taxpayers in California,” she said, noting her organization is “proud to have worked alongside other pro-life groups in California to protect students from the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug.”
“The pro-life generation will continue to fight against all efforts to bring dangerous abortion drugs to college campuses,” Hawkins added.