Thank you, senator Allen and honorable members of the committee. As introduced, my name is Anna Arend and I am the Northern California Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America. Students for Life of America has over twelve hundred student groups. I work with student groups on California college and high school campuses on a daily basis in an effort to defend human rights, raise awareness of the realities and dangers of abortion, and provide resources for pregnant and parenting students so they can accomplish their academic goals.
Our Students for Life groups throughout California have formed a coalition. While we have over 90 Students for Life groups on campuses throughout California, I would like to list a few of the most notable coalition members: University of California Berkeley, California State University Chico, CSU Sacramento, CSU San Jose, California Polytechnic State University, CSU Long Beach, CSU San Marcos, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, and UC Los Angeles. These students have formed a coalition to oppose Senate Bill 320 due to the horrible realities of RU-486, the abortion by medication technique, and the dangers that it would bring to their campuses and the simple fact that abortion pills are not necessary for student success.
I’d like to share Jessica Massey’s story. She couldn’t make it today but she is a local and CBS13 covered her story two days ago. Jessica was a student at Sacramento State six years ago when she found herself pregnant. She had previously had an abortion during her junior year of college and at this point, was unsure of what to do as she found herself pregnant for a second time. While on campus, she came across our Students for Life group at Sacramento State. Their leader, Margaret, connected her with resources, offered her support, and empowered her to make the decision she wanted to make, the option she had not been able to make in the past. She chose to keep her child. Jessica says that choosing life is the best thing she has ever done. Jessica, with her handsome three-month old son in arm, walked across the commencement stage and received her diploma. She didn’t stop there, she graduated with her masters and showed us what student success looks like while parenting. She now not only has her first son Stephan who is six years old, but a husband and one-year old son. Jessica Massey is one example showing parenting and student success are not in opposition of each other, yet SB320 is based on the claims that they are.
Students don’t need abortion drugs on campus to be successful. In fact, on behalf of the students I represent, these abortion drugs are harmful to student success. Jessica Massey said when reflecting on her abortion in an interview, “I know that hurt and pain that I was going through, I wanted to help women not make the same mistake.”
Abortion causes hurt and pain, both physically and mentally. Natural miscarriages are difficult enough for couples to go through. Now picture Young women experiencing the effects of induced abortions who will return to their dorm rooms, their shared bathrooms, their toilet stalls, and experience the trauma, on their own in unsanitary, non-private conditions. According to the FDA, “Cramping and vaginal bleeding are expected effects of the treatment regimen. In some cases, very heavy vaginal bleeding will need to be stopped by a surgical procedure.” The FDA continues “Other common side effects of the treatment regimen include nausea, weakness, fever/chills, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and dizziness in the first day or two after taking the two medicines.” Some women have reported needing to spend the night in her bathroom, to stay near to the toilet. Now picture that in a shared dorm bathroom. Natural miscarriage is a traumatizing experience for couples to go through. Induced abortions, alone, in these conditions can be unimaginably traumatizing. And the common side effects of RU-486 as listed by the FDA are the same symptoms the FDA recommends watching for as signs of sepsis making it difficult for women recognize they are need of medical attention, especially after their abortion providers tell them their symptoms are normal. The FDA reports 8 deaths caused by medical abortions resulting in sepsis in a thirteen-year span and hundreds of serious injuries.
Yet we want to bring this on campus when every UC and CSU is with an average of 5.79 miles of campus? Students can uber to an abortion provider for the price of a coffee.
SB320 only provides one option for young women who find out they are pregnant, hurt and pain. Why are is this bill pushing abortion rather than supporting women who make decisions like Jessica? Abortion harms student success and brings dangers to campus. It is for these reasons that students have gathered here to oppose SB320. Students do not want the unnecessary dangers of abortion drugs on their campus. For these reasons, on behalf of the Students for Life of America and our coalition of California Students, I must urge you to vote “no” on SB320. Thank you so much for your time and I am open to any questions.