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California Bill Would Require Universities To Offer Early Abortion Options

SACRAMENTO -- Could public universities in California start offering the abortion pill? One state senator is hoping that's the case.

State Sen. Connie Leyva introduced Senate Bill 320, which would require all UC and CSU schools to provide the abortion pill at on-campus health centers.

The bill passed the health committee on Wednesday. CSU's and UC's don't currently offer abortion services.

"Last summer, I found out I was pregnant and that was a huge surprise because I practice safe sex," said "Jessica," who prefers not to be identified by her real name.

Jessica's unexpected pregnancy threw her into panic mode. The 20-year old UC Berkeley student says it took three weeks before she could access the medication she needed to get an abortion.

"I had to see a counselor in order to get referred out and go to multiple appointments to prove I was pregnant, and go to the hospital, it was a long process."

Jessica was forced to take time off her job and school. She says by the time she got her abortion medication she had missed about a week of classwork, and lost $500 worth of income.

Last October, Jessica began the push to bring abortion access to the UC Berkeley campus. Her efforts were recognized at the state Capitol, where Leyva then introduced a bill proposing all UC's and CSU's be required to provide the abortion pill on-campus.

"There's a lot of barriers that we all overcome to get here and it's not necessarily the university's responsibility to overcome those barriers for us," said Grace Aguirre, who doesn't agree with the bill's proposal.

Some who criticize the bill say abortion services shouldn't have to be offered at the university level just for convenience.

"There are clinics that will do it and if you really want to do it you will find a place, school doesn't need to be that place," said another student.

Spokesmen from the CSU and UC systems tell CBS13 they have not yet taken a formal position on the bill, but say they have concerns about their staff not being trained to administer the abortion medication.

"We are in a chapter of our lives that's setting up the rest of our lives. If we have a barrier like an unintended pregnancy, that's just setting up for a life of complications and struggles," said Jessica.

The bill is now in the senate education committee, where members will work with stakeholders to discuss the future of the bill.

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