By Mary Huber
Senate Bill 320 is a highly controversial and one-sided bill that would require public colleges and universities in California to provide abortion-inducing medication.
The bill is authored by State Senator Connie Leyva, whose 20th District is largely within the Diocese of San Bernardino. Opposition to SB 320 was a major priority for Catholics from the Diocese who visited Sacramento on Apr. 24 for Catholic Advocacy Day. The California Catholic Conference, the advocacy voice of the Bishops of California, continues to encourage the faithful throughout the state to voice their opposition to the bill by contacting their state legislators through the Catholic Legislative Network—www.cacatholic.org
At the heart of the debate is the RU-486 pill (Mifeprex & Misoprotstol), which can be ingested up to 10 weeks of gestation to induce a miscarriage. The medication blocks the hormones that protect the continuation of the pregnancy. At some point the baby starves and detaches. The second drug, Misoprostol, is given to help expel the baby. This process may result in painful and serious medical complications. Side effects include intense cramping and contractions, nausea, fever, vomiting, hemorrhaging and in some cases, failure to discard all fetal remains. In fact, one out of 12 women who use RU-486 will still be pregnant and most will require a surgical abortion, which campus health centers are not equipped to handle.
The Catholic Church has an unwavering stance on the protection of all human life. “From its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator who is its sole end (CCC 2258).” Correspondingly, by nature, we have an innate desire to want to flourish and help others flourish. SB 320 violates this principle for a variety of reasons. It not only promotes abortions on college campuses, it offers the student no other options such as pro-life counseling, pre-natal care or child care for those who would choose to have their child.
Dr. George Delgado, founder of the Abortion Pill Reversal Network in San Diego, finds RU-486 particularly troubling.
“The taking of the life of an innocent human being is never acceptable, but for these women, it is especially unfortunate, because they will be given the abortion pill at a student clinic without any significant support or counseling. It is a life-altering decision and it is not in keeping with the dignity due to the woman that she be left in pain and alone as she passes her baby in a campus toilet.”
Abortion pills are being marketed as a safe alternative to surgical abortion. This misleading marketing often creates confusion. The RU-486 pill is not the Morning After Pill, which is designed to be taken within 72 hours of sexual relations. It is an active contagion that intentionally prevents a healthy pregnancy from flourishing until the baby dies.
The bill also contains a provision stating that if college campuses are non-compliant, they could lose funding for other important women’s health issues.
Dr. Teresa Burke is the founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, a sensory based integrated treatment for those who have suffered trauma after abortion. Her retreat program has expanded across the world, available in 49 states, 70 countries and translated into 23 languages. Her knowledge about the trauma of abortion is derived from 30 years of working in the treatment and study of abortion trauma.
When asked about the RU-486 pill, she said: “Chemical abortions can be particularly traumatic. The woman plays an active role in the procedure and is conscious of each step. In a clinical abortion she is often placed in a room and drugged only to wake up after the procedure is complete. With the RU-486 pill, she will have a memory of each step and its effects on her body and the body of her child. She cannot close her eyes to the process and tell herself that someone else is doing this to her.”
Tragically, the young woman’s home or in this case, a dormitory toilet becomes a “trigger” to the heart-wrenching experience. It can create havoc in their lives at a time when they need to focus on their higher education. Ironically, women sometimes drop out of college, creating the scenario they so desperately tried to avoid.
“It stakes out the ground for a very personal and intimate war—a battle against those we are called to love and be loved by—a conflict within the self, dismantling values, beliefs, moral conscience and natural biology,” Dr. Burke notes.
She continues, “By ingesting a poisonous medicine, undoubtedly the traumatic re-enactment of that act may lead to eating disorders and other psychological problems. She cannot resort to the coping mechanism of blaming the abortionist. She, herself, took the pills and performed the abortion on her own. Simply looking in the mirror can become a triggering event.”
SB 320 is not life-affirming. It doesn’t empower women, as proponents of the bill claim. It victimizes them. It forces women’s health to take a back seat to a pro-abortion political ideology instead of providing female students with options that offer support and compassion.