Much like California earlier this year, Massachusetts universities could soon be required to cover students’ abortion pills if a new bill before the Joint Committee on Public Health is successful.
An act to require public universities to provide the abortion pill, HB3481, would, if passed, allocate $400,000 to public university health centers for initial “medical abortion readiness” which would include training and medical equipment such as ultrasound machines. The program would also fund up to $2.4 million for day-to-day costs, including staff salaries.
The abortion pill regimen is a two-step process: a woman is administered mifepristone (also known as RU-486), which blocks progesterone to the baby, starving him or her of nutrients, and killing him. A second pill (misoprostol) is taken, usually at home or in this case in a dorm room, to cause contractions which expel the preborn baby from the uterus. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 39% of abortions in the United States are done this way, a massive increase from 5% reported in 2001.
Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, the bill’s sponsor, told the Boston University News Service that the proposed legislation “only impacts public universities that already have health services on campus where they perform OB-GYN appointments, so it does not require universities to make upfront capital investment. It’s really the cost of the medication.”
Sabadosa also said that the bill differed from the California law it was based upon in funding. Abortions up to 10 weeks would be covered financially through a trust fund set up for the program with money approved through the state’s legislature, coming partially from donations. It is unclear where the rest of the money will come from, but as Massachusetts is one of the few states that allows taxpayer money to be spent on abortion and recently bailed out the state’s abortion facilities when Title X funding was no longer available to them, it seems likely taxpayers will be footing at least some of the bill.
Pro-life leaders immediately decried the lack of support provided to students experiencing unplanned pregnancies by having abortion institutionalized on college campuses. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, 18,256 abortions took place in the state in 2018, of which 7,257 were by the abortion pill regimen.
“If you’re just putting an abortion facility in the middle of their college campus, our daughters are not getting the message that they have a choice. You want to give them options, not abortion,” said C. J. Williams of Massachusetts Citizens for Life.
Massachusetts Citizens for Life Board Chairman J. David Franks also decried the measure. “Facilitating this pop-a-pill mentality as if one can deal with the grave and long-reaching consequences of our reproductive biology, as if one can pop a pill or two and then have no problems. It’s just magical thinking.”
If the legislation passes, the program is set to be in place by 2022.
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