Florida SGA senator seeks to use university funds to reimburse students for out-of-state abortions
Student Government introduced an abortion reimbursement bill that would fund students' abortion procedures and related expenses.
'I believe that abortion should stay out of public university medical care, especially using funding from student government,' a College Republicans board members told Campus Reform.
In early July, the University of Florida’s (UF) Student Government Judiciary Committee indefinitely postponed a bill intended to reimburse students for abortion-related expenses, such as out-of-state travel. The Student Government Supreme Court, however, will be viewing a case this semester that could keep the bill alive.
The bill, titled the “Authorization Ordering the Student Body President to Facilitate Access to Pregnancy-Related Healthcare Services to Students,” was originally introduced by student senator Oscar Santiago Perez in reaction to the Supreme Court’s June 24 overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Florida currently bans abortion after 15 weeks of gestation.
The legislation would require the university to dedicate $1.5 million to reimburse students for 50% of expenses related to abortion procedures. Perez said these funds could be taken from a UF student government reserve fund, which consists of “funds left over at the end of the year and revenues collected in excess of budget.”
Funding not used at the end of the month would “reimburse students for as much of the other half of the aforementioned expenses as possible,” the bill states.
The Student Government Judiciary Committee indefinitely postponed the bill due to its “legality and constitutionality,” student senator Alfredo Ortiz explained during the July 5 meeting.
The same day, senator Perez submitted a complaint to the Student Government Supreme Court to rule on whether it was improperly postponed.
“I believe that abortion should stay out of public university medical care, especially using funding from student government,” UF College Republicans board member Ava Meadows told Campus Reform.
“Student government shouldn’t be political and having an abortion bill forces it to become political and choose a side…The university should remain as uninvolved as possible.”
Ortiz, who formerly served as president of UF’s Liberation Party, told Campus Reform that he was responsible for authoring most of the bill that Perez introduced.
“I wrote the bill and Oscar proposed it because non-senators are not allowed to propose bills/be noted as authors,” Ortiz told Campus Reform. “I wrote it because I know that a lot of people felt like the [United States] Supreme Court had turned its back on them.”
Ortiz confirmed with Campus Reform that this legislation would allow students to use the school’s student government funds to go to a different state where abortion is legal, and pay to get the procedure done there.
UF Young Americans for Freedom board member Jackson Rowell expressed to Campus Reform that “[t]his is a horrific bill through and through, planning to use our tuition money to sanction infanticide.”
“This Satanic and morally bankrupt bill must be blocked at all costs, and in my opinion, we should get our governor Ron Desantis involved to ensure life wins. We need to be protesting this at every corner on campus,” Rowell continued.
The bill also provides the potential for leftover funding to be given to students to pay for their student child care (or “Baby Gator”) expenses. However, it explicitly states that it will help students seek an abortion first.
“The University of Florida Student Senate prescribes that any outstanding funds at the end of each month shall first be used to reimburse students for as much of the other half of the aforementioned [abortion-related] expenses as possible, and then reimburse students’ Baby Gator expenses,” the bill reads.
“I was supportive of the bill from the beginning and am deeply disappointed that [the committee] blocked it,” UF Young Democratic Socialists of America member Izzy Myers told Campus Reform.
“I find the bill being blocked to be an inexcusable action for a public university to take. The University of Florida is a public, secular university. The argument against contraception and abortion often takes a religious tone,” she charged.
Campus Reform contacted The University of Florida, the UF Student Government, and all individuals mentioned in this article. The article will be updated accordingly.