Reproductive rights crimes will be added to the University Police Department crime log in 2023.
According to Greg Pascal, communication supervisor for the UPD, this new crime classification is in response to Senate Bill 24, which mandates that all California State University campuses provide medical abortions via pill for students. So far, no public universities have begun providing medical abortion services.
“In order to qualify as a reproductive rights crime, it has to be a crime that occurs against a facility or health care provider who is providing reproductive rights services,” Pascal said. “And because the university did not provide those services … once the health center starts providing those, then it’s a possibility.”
Crimes committed now, Pascal said, although inspired by anti-abortion sentiments, would not be classified as reproductive rights crimes until the abortion medication becomes available in 2023.
This means that although violence may be occurring now, it is not being documented as reproductive rights crime at all CSU campuses.
Campus Student Health Services director Angela Girard said when the bill was first passed, UPD was ready for the issue to “not go over quietly.”
Rachel Haering, secretary for the Catholic Newman Club, said she and her cohort strongly oppose the implementation of the bill but oppose violence even more.
“Myself or any members of the groups wouldn’t condone those actions,” Haering said. “That isn’t the way to have a productive dialogue.”
When the topic was first brought to discussion in 2018 during an Associated Students Inc. Senate meeting, it was met with conflicting responses.
“Beyond the politics of the issue of abortion, there’s the issue of the people running this program don’t want it,” Haering said.
Sen. Raquelle Hafen of the College of Health and Human Services said she opposes the bill for several reasons.
“I am aware that many in ASI and the student body do not agree with my stance on this issue,” Hafen said. “This is a decision made regardless of my personal views on the controversial legality or morality of abortion rights as a whole.”
Haering mirrored her concerns, including those about funding for the bill.
“All the bill says is they’re not requiring student fees to be used, but nothing prohibits it down the line,” Haering said.
Hafen said that her understanding is that the ultimate burden of cost will fall on the students, despite the measure being designed to provide free access to abortion services.
“SB 24 would not provide enough financial support to CSULB as it transitions to offering these services on campus,” Hafen said. “Financial responsibility would likely fall onto the students, contributing to the ever-increasing price of higher education.”
It is unclear what the response will be at CSULB once the service is provided, but Girard said the SHS is still preparing for the possibility of controversy.
“We are in the early stages of planning, so more specifics are to come as we move closer to 2023,” Girard said.