UC Berkeley’s student government passed a resolution on March 18 calling for the school’s health services to provide abortion services on campus, alleging that students who are forced to travel to nearby health clinics face added financial, academic and mental burdens as a result.
The bill urges University Health Services, known as The Tang Center, to issue medical – not surgical -- abortions to students in need. Medical abortions are performed through pharmaceutical drugs, often referred to as “the abortion pill.”
The Tang Center states on its website that it supports women’s access to the “full spectrum” of pregnancy alternatives, as does UC Berkeley’s student health insurance program.
Currently, the center offers counseling, pregnancy testing and contraception, but it refers abortion seekers to nearby health clinics.
Aanchal Chugh, an ASUC senator and the primary sponsor of the bill, said those clinics are not close enough.
"Having to go 30-40 minutes outside of campus to get an abortion is unacceptable...we have very busy demanding lives," she said, adding that she believes the Tang Center has the necessary resources to provide medical abortions.
Chugh says she has been flooded with hate mail since the resolution hit the senate floor, but she stands by her bill.
Religious campus groups are not openly protesting the bill, although they have spoken out against it.
"We know before God that this is wrong," said one student from Christian group Open Air. "This is murder."
In a statement, a spokesperson from the school said that it continues to support women's healthcare and access to abortions, but notes that "the Berkeley campus is surrounded by a high-quality, well-established network of health providers who are experts in this area."