GOP wants to strip all federal funding from colleges that offer medication abortion

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Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) has debuted a bill that would defund every public university in California.

New legislation, introduced by three congressional Republicans, would penalize hundreds of thousands of college students for attending schools that offer medication abortion on campus.

Reps. Chip Roy of Texas, Mary Miller of Illinois, and Steve Daines of Montana announced the Protecting Life on College Campus Act of 2021 at a press conference on Wednesday. The bill would prohibit all direct or indirect federal funding for any college or university "that hosts or is affiliated with any school-based service site that provides abortion drugs or abortions to students of the institution or to employees of the institution or site."

"This legislation is the next logical step in our quest to protect life," Roy stated. "We shouldn't be a country where we take women at their most vulnerable time, when they're young, when they've gone off to college in this case we're talking about, and essentially allow for there to be chemically induced abortion, for a do-it-yourself abortion."

"A college dorm room is no place to have a do-it-yourself abortion, and the American taxpayer should not be paying for the destruction of innocent human life on our college campuses," he added in a tweet.

Daines argued that "chemical abortions are dangerous and they target very vulnerable young women."

"We can't let our campus clinics become abortion clinics," he said, suggesting that the "craziness" in California — where public colleges and universities will soon be required to offer medication abortions at campus health clinics — would become mainstream nationally without immediate action.

Miller framed the legislation as essential for religious reasons. "I have to say that I'm very concerned about the precarious situation that our country is in before God," she told reporters. "May we acknowledge the truth about what we have done, what we've been involved in, what we're promoting, now what we're forcing Americans to pay for. May we repent and ask God to forgive us and stop this madness."

The proposal, as noted, is a response to a 2019 California state law ensuring that "on and after January 1, 2023, each student health care services clinic on a California State University or University of California campus to offer abortion by medication techniques."

Those institutions receive billions in federal funds, all of which would be stripped if the bill were enacted. Much of that funding comes through Pell Grants — a federal program that provides financial aid to students from low- and middle-income families to help them pay for college. As EdSource reported in March, more than 720,000 students at California's public institutions currently rely on Pell Grants to help pay their tuition.

According to Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, a research group at the University of California, San Francisco's Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, there is significant demand for medication abortion by students at California's public institutions.

"An estimated 322 to 519 UC and CSU students seek medication abortion each month in California," the group determined. "Currently, the majority of students have to travel at least 30 minutes each way using public transportation to reach the nearest facility offering abortion care. Given that medication abortion requires two visits to an off-campus provider, each with travel to and from the facility, most students (62%) would need to spend 2 hours or more on public transit to access abortion."

While the GOP lawmakers tried to present abortion by medication as dangerous on Wednesday, the treatment — a combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol — is legal in the United States and approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective.

A June 2021 Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health analysis found that medication abortion is more than 95% successful and found no serious adverse medical events for 99.7% of the people who used it — making it "safer than many common drugs in the United States, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) or sildenafil (Viagra).

According to Roy, more than 50 House Republicans have co-sponsored the anti-medication abortion proposal. The National Review reported Wednesday that Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Tom Cotton (AR), Ted Cruz (TX), Bill Hagerty (TN), Josh Hawley (MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Mike Rounds (SD), Marco Rubio (FL), and Roger Wicker (MS) are all co-sponsors of the Senate version.

No Democrats have signed onto the bill.

Given that the 2020 Democratic Party Platform expressly states that "Democrats oppose restrictions on medication abortion care that are inconsistent with the most recent medical and scientific evidence and that do not protect public health," the new legislation is unlikely to pass in the Democratic-controlled House or Senate.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.