Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bills on public university abortion access and crisis pregnancy centers pass in Delaware Senate

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

State Sen. Kyle Evans Gay's (D-Talleyville) bills on expanding access to medication for termination of pregnancy and emergency contraception at public universities, as well as requiring signage disclaimers at crisis pregnancy centers both pass in the Delaware Senate.

Her first bill would necessitate public universities with a student health center provide abortion medication and contraception on-site, although consultation to provide them may be performed by a contracted external agency.

Gay explains the bill does not affect the scope of practice for providers, ask universities to offer medication on campus if they feel they are not capable of it or ask universities to pay for the procedures.

“It is simply a bill to encourage and consider the needs of students on campus and recognize that they too deserve access to healthcare and that it is our responsibility to fill any gaps for them that exist," she said.

Republican senators feel the bill is state overreach considering public universities are already allowed to provide medication on their own accord and expressed objections to making abortion services more readily available.

"What we're beginning to do is inject ourselves into a situation that I don't think we have to be in, and still allow for some of the circumstances presented to be properly accessible," State Sen. Eric Buckson (R-Dover South) said.

Gay countered that because abortions are legal in Delaware, it should be in the interest of the state to expand access to those medical services, particularly to vulnerable populations like college students.

Her second bill would require crisis pregnancy centers in Delaware to post signage that they are not licensed medical facilities.

Crisis pregnancy centers are typically non-profit limited service medical facilities that aim to persuade pregnant people not to pursue abortion services.

“71% of these types of crisis pregnancy centers use deceptive means to spread debunked information, and 38% do not clearly state on their homepage — their web page — that they don’t provide abortion care," Gay said.

She says the state is endangering access to public health by not notifying pregnant individuals where they can receive access to licensed medical care.

Republican senators argue the bill could be challenged in court as a free speech violation and feel the signage places an unfair burden on the crisis centers.

Both bills passed in the Senate with only Democratic support and now head to the House for further consideration.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.