In a going-away gift that delivered a rare victory to California’s pro-life forces, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 320, legislation that would have required all UC/CSU student health centers to provide chemical abortions to students by January 2020.
In his brief veto message of the bill, Brown delivered a wrist slap to bill author Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and its supporters, dismissing SB 320 as “unnecessary.”
Talk about an understatement. We prolifers are grateful for Brown’s moment of clarity, but such a poorly conceived bill never should have made it out of its first committee hearing, let alone to the Governor’s desk. For nearly two years, Right to Life of Kern County and its California allies labored to impress upon our logic-impaired legislature that providing abortion-inducing drugs on campus is not only dangerous and fraught with liability, it’s also utterly unnecessary given the proximity of abortion providers to college campuses.
No matter. When it comes to checking ideological boxes, California’s Democratic lawmakers never met an abortion bill they didn’t like. Apparently, our elected representatives aren’t required to demonstrate an actual need for the bills they introduce as long as said bills align with the party narrative. And with the Democratic majority so firmly entrenched there’s not even a pretense at bipartisanship, at least when it comes to the sacred cow that is abortion.
We opponents of SB 320 at Senate and Assembly committee hearings on the bill watched in astonished dismay as Democratic lawmakers nonchalantly dismissed all evidence debunking claims supporting the bill.
No, students don’t have to travel “hours and miles” to get their abortion pills because the average distance from California’s college campuses to the nearest abortion provider is six miles; some are within walking distance.
No, female athletes don’t lose their scholarships if they become pregnant. NCAA and Title IX gender equity policies mandate that unless the athlete voluntarily drops the program, her financial aid is secure.
No, the cost of abortion pills is not a burden for college students, not with the state ready to pick up the tab via its Medi-Cal Presumptive Eligibility program.
No, the $200,000 in grant monies allotted to each university to cover set-up costs is not enough to finance the necessary abortion equipment and training, according to university officials. The UCs and CSUs wouldn’t take a formal position on the bill but were represented at the hearings. In what became a recurring pattern, the expert opinions of the people who run the schools were heard, then utterly ignored.
And so it went. The only thing Leyva did have in her corner was an ever-present and enthusiastic group of UC Berkeley co-eds who believe that having to take public transportation to pick up their free abortion pills is some sort of oppression. But for the overwhelming majority of Democratic lawmakers, that was enough.
When it comes to abortion access, no state is more obliging than California, with its 512 abortion providers and none of the major restrictions that are found in many other states. SB 320 wasn’t about access, but about normalizing abortion by forcing it into every nook and cranny of California’s current anti-life culture.
All of which makes Brown’s veto nothing short of a miracle.
Leyva responded defiantly to the veto, promising to reintroduce the bill next year under the new governor. Demonstrating his fealty to party overlords Planned Parenthood and NARAL, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsome said he would have signed SB 320 into law.
If and when that happens, the state’s small but tireless army of proactive pro-life advocates are ready to do battle once more, but the decision to bring abortions to our college campuses ultimately lies with the voters and the choices they make at the ballot box.