- - Tuesday, September 4, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

On its way to the desk of California Gov. Jerry Brown is an abortion bill like no other one that would require college and university health centers to transform from medical centers designed to protect and maximize students’ health to abortion vendors.

The list of reasons for the governor to veto this dangerous piece of legislation is long, and hopefully the governor will be able to review them in an atmosphere free of the partisan abortion politics that have entangled the Democratic Party so prominent in California. Lives literally are at stake.

The bill in question is SB 320, which would require all student health centers within the University of California and California State University systems to have on hand the chemical abortion drugs known as RU-486 and available for students by 2022. The deadly drugs end the lives of preborn children by causing horrific bleeding and have also ended the lives of women, such as California student Holly Patterson.

The FDA reports that these drug-induced abortions have led to cases of extreme bleeding, infection and incomplete abortions requiring surgery, and even to the deaths of women. The drugs are especially dangerous to women who are later in pregnancy or experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, both conditions which must be determined by an ultrasound (using equipment not usually found in a college health center).

And as the women would be sent to their dorms to experience extreme bleeding, the schools would be confronted with the issues of blood and tissue clean up on site as well as the potential need for blood transfusions if a life-threatening situation arose.

It’s hard to imagine why schools, dedicated to equipping the next generation to take their place in society, would want the risk, liability and costs with ending the lives of future generations.

The Fresno Bee reported that schools are nervous about the bill they could be getting, noting “Analysis from the Appropriations Committee says that the bill’s sponsors believe that the estimated funding will be able to cover the start-up costs of the program.

“However, the analysis notes that both the UC and CSU systems have ‘shared concerns regarding the bill’s potential costs to their (student health centers), including administrative costs, liability due to complications, and campus security.’”

But don’t look to students to cover the shortfall. Students for Life of America, the organization of more than 1,200 college and university groups that I represent, is already hearing from students who do not want their student fees used to support abortion on campus, and we will help them oppose such a misuse of funds.

Students like Bernadette Tasy, president of Fresno State Students for Life, already have been talking with their state legislators about protecting student fees.

“There’s no prohibition in the bill from using student fees; in fact, it’s sort of implied that they will be used eventually,” she told the Fresno Bee. “I don’t want my student fees to go towards it.”

In this #MeToo moment in time, it’s also important to note that these life-ending drugs have been used by men to end the lives of wanted babies against the wishes of the babies’ mothers, raising the issue of what kind of safeguards will be put in place to protect women from abusers.

Another group in need of protection could be California health care professionals who are currently working in school health centers to help students have a healthy life and whose conscience rights could be endangered should they be forced to participate in the act of abortion.

Bill sponsor Sen. Connie Leyva has been very open in celebrating her effort, which would provide funds to Planned Parenthood to consult on the transformation from health center to abortion vendor. And she has been up front about how she sees her effort as a beta-test of sorts, rolling out this idea from California schools to a campus near you.

“I think it’s critical this legislation passes in California,” Ms. Leyva reportedly said. “Then I hope we can be a model across the country, for every state.”

Mr. Brown can protect the lives of women and their preborn children, the financial interests of students, and the conscience rights of health care workers by vetoing this tragic measure. We hope that he will.

Abortion is the human rights issue of our day and does not need to be a matter of partisan politics, as Mr. Brown himself has noted. In an interview Mr. Brown gave to NBC’s “Meet the Press” in 2017, he urged his party not to make abortion a litmus test for party loyalty.

Talking with Chuck Todd, Mr. Brown observed: “It wasn’t very long ago that a number of Catholic Democrats were opposed to abortion. So the fact that somebody believes today what most people believed 50 years ago should not be the basis for their exclusion.”

That’s a great point to keep in mind, as partisan loyalties should not be a reason to sign a measure destined to harm so many. Still, Students for Life of America will be watching across the country for similar efforts so that we can help women like Marie Stettler, a pro-life nurse who regrets her RU-486 abortion, made under pressure on her California campus and in fear of her lack of options.

Her story paints a picture of the pressures women face when pushed toward abortion and not given all their life-affirming options.

No student should have to choose between her education and her child, which is why SFLA’s Pregnant on Campus program exists, serving the needs of pregnant and parenting students. Students who are balancing school and family need our support, not a deadly handful of pills that could harm both mother and child.

• Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America.

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