Following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, California is poised to become a sanctuary state for abortion access.
SB 24, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019, states that by Jan. 1, 2023, the California State University and University of California systems will provide medication abortions on all of their campuses.
By providing $200,000 per campus to fund medication abortion access, the law seeks to mitigate student stress over health concerns, travel expenses to outside abortion clinics, and mental health strain that arises from insufficient abortion access.
Currently, medication abortion access varies on each campus, with some already ahead of the curve in providing abortion care.
City on a Hill Press has your answers on how to access medication abortion at UC Santa Cruz.
Q: Are abortion pills available on campus right now? If so, where can they be accessed?
Yes. In an email correspondence with City on a Hill Press, Scott Hernandez-Jason, Assistant Vice Chancellor at UCSC, wrote that students can reach out now to the Student Health Center, located at 1156 High Street, to receive campus medical abortion services. To make an appointment, you can either call 831-459-2500 or click here.
Q: Is it free? Is insurance needed?
Hernandez-Jason stated that the cost of medical abortions is currently entirely covered by the University of California Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP), with no co-pay. Students with CruzCare and with insurance other than UC SHIP will be notified of any fees by the Health Center, or referred to the local Planned Parenthood for a consultation. The Santa Cruz Planned Parenthood is located at 1119 Pacific Ave. Suite 200, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.
Q: What other reproductive health resources are provided on campus?
Besides medication abortion access, the Student Health Center offers resources such as reproductive medical care, birth control access, and counseling services. Student Health Outreach and Promotion (SHOP) focuses on health education and support for students, including information about sexually transmitted infections and diseases and safe sex supplies.
The university also houses Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE), which provides free and confidential care for those suffering from sexual, domestic, and dating violence.
Q: What type of medication is used?
According to Planned Parenthood, two different medicine pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, are taken during the abortive process. You will first be given mifepristone. This pill blocks the hormone progesterone, which prepares the uterus for pregnancy by promoting growth.
You will be given misoprostol anywhere from right after taking mifepristone or up to 48 hours after. The timing will be determined between you and your healthcare provider. Misoprostol empties the uterus, which causes cramping and bleeding.
Following your medical abortion, a follow-up visit to the doctor should be scheduled to ensure the process was successful and to check for signs of potential infection or other issues.
According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms such as breast tenderness, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, fever, diarrhea, headache, and nausea have been reported. Mayo Clinic recommends receiving medical attention if you experience severe abdominal or back pain, a fever persisting past 24 hours, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, or heavy bleeding.
Q: What is the process of obtaining a medication abortion?
According to Hernandez-Jason, after scheduling an appointment at the Health Center, you and your doctor will discuss your options. From there, you will make a shared decision with your doctor. If you decide on a medication abortion, you will be provided with both verbal and written information on what to expect during the process.
You will then need to go through various medical screenings in order to scan for potential medical problems. This includes blood tests, an ultrasound, and an in-person exam. A test will also be run to determine the gestational age of the fetus. According to Planned Parenthood, you can take medication for abortion up to 11 weeks, or 77 days, after the first day of your last period.
If you are seeking a surgical abortion, you will be referred to Planned Parenthood in San Jose, as surgical abortions are not performed in Santa Cruz.