Associated Students Inc. senators fiercely debated a resolution during Wednesday’s meeting that would support a bill to fund abortions on campus.
The resolution would be the first step in allowing Lobby Corps to promote bills related to student well-being, ranging from mental health services to student loan forgiveness.
The bill that drew controversy, however, was Senate Bill 24. The bill would require every California State University and University of California’s health centers to provide medically induced abortions on or after Jan. 1, 2023.
Sen. Alejandra Aguilar took issue with SB 24’s inclusion and spoke against it.
“I agree with a majority of these because it acts on student basic needs, the only one I have problems with is… SB 24,” Aguilar said.
Aguilar continued to question if the bill was necessary.
“To me a basic need is shelter, food, water, medically that is what we need to survive,” she said. “This is not something that we need every day.”
She pointed out that the bills are meant to represent all students and accused SB 24 of not representing any pro-life students on campus.
“We are representing a whole body, and not necessarily one portion of a body of students,” she said.
ASI Executive Director Richard Haller responded to Aguilar, and pointed out that the state of California does in fact consider access to abortion a need.
Sen. Brianna Guzman responded in defense of the bill’s inclusion and in opposition to Aguilar’s view that abortion was not essential.
“If we’re honest, people die because they don’t have access to affordable medical care,” Guzman said.
Guzman added that the bill was necessary for promoting equity for uninsured students and argued if supporting the bill is a political move, so is opposing it.
Sen. Mateo Maya disagreed and argued that the bill is there to provide a service and is not political commentary.
After the meeting, Sen. Yee voiced her opposition to the bill and to abortion in general.
“I don’t care about what other people think about abortion, but I personally never supported [it],” Yee said. “That resolution really hurt me.”
Yee suggested that those in need of an abortion should seek the service elsewhere.
“If they want to do that they can go outside the school,” she said. “It’s just sad to be honest.”
The resolution passed 13-2-3, however this is only the first of three readings of the bill, which will need to pass a majority vote another two times.
The senate can also elect to amend the resolution in any future readings to remove AB 24.
The resolution will be voted on again during the next ASI Senate meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 3:30 p.m. in USU 234.
Alex Dansereau, Staff Writer, contributed to this story.