One size does not fit all: Are abortion pills right for CSUDH?

Photo by Lucia Dong

By Yeymy Garcia
Managing Editor

Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 24, which will require public universities to offer abortion pills for students beginning in 2023 on 34 University of California and California State University campuses, including CSUDH. 

But is CSUDH the kind of campus where it’s needed?

In a written statement, Newsom explained the significance of the new law:

“As other states and the federal government go backward, restricting reproductive freedom, in California we are moving forward , expanding access and reaffirming a woman’s right to choose, We’re removing barriers to reproductive health — increasing access on college campuses and using technology to modernize how patients interact with providers.”

Megan Tagle Adams, director of the Women’s Resource Center at CSUDH, says this is a great advancement in women’s reproductive rights, especially among marginalized students on our campus. 

“I think it’s very important that we provide access for all of our students and I think it’s very important to destigmatize abortion knowing that one in three women in this country will have an abortion during her lifetime,” Adams said. “If we say that we’re really valuing student success and valuing women students success then access to healthcare is fundamental and access to abortion is fundamental to healthcare.” 

Student health centers at public universities in California already offer services such as birth control pills and other contraception options, but this is the first time that abortion pills, not to be confused with the morning-after pill, would be accessible to students.

Providing student-access to abortion pills sounds easy and convenient, but considering a Planned Parenthood office is opening across the street on University Drive and that CSUDH’s health services refers those students who ask about abortion services to an existing Planned Parenthood within six miles, is this service really necessary for our campus? 

Dr. Irina Gaal, Chief of Medical Services at the Student Health and Psychological Services at CSUDH, says the number of students asking about abortions at this campus is very low and the staff is not trained to handle abortions. 

For instance, Dr. Gaal said the abortion pill is only effective if taken with the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, so women are required to get an invasive ultrasound with a vaginal probe. In addition, with the CSUDH health center only open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., students might find it difficult to get care if complications arise. 

“The devil is in the details of how to do this and it just feels like they made a law that is one shoe fits all feet but we at the CSU have different feet,” Dr. Gaal said. “Some of us [have a] really tiny footprint like our health center here [but some schools] like Cal State Northridge, they have tons of doctors and practically a hospital over there. So one shoe does not fit all of our feet and the way the law is written it sure treats us all like that and it doesn’t factor in the proximity to very accessible services.”

Dr. Gaal said that since there are still a number of details to be worked out, she and other health center directors are waiting for instructions on how to comply with SB 24.