This article was originally published on September 27, 2022 by CalMatters.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a package of 12 bills into law, establishing some of the strongest abortion protections in the country — a direct reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn federal abortion guarantees earlier this year.
Collectively, the new laws aim to improve access and protect patients and clinicians by strengthening confidentiality safeguards, ensuring providers and patients cannot be sued or sued, and funding procedures and travel costs. for low income people. They also seek to bolster the state’s network of abortion clinics as more patients from states where abortion is now strictly restricted or banned seek procedures in California.
Newsom first announced the signing privately to stakeholders, and Jodi Hicks, CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said many in the virtual room were emotional.
“It’s been a long year of hard work,” Hicks said. “You could see a lot of emotion and pride.”
My whole generation lived with Roe v. Wade as the law of the land, so it’s not like we have a map of how to navigate a system without those protections.
Jodi Hicks, CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
The package was backed by the California Future of Abortion Council, a 46-member coalition of reproductive rights and health and justice groups convened by Newsom in 2021 to identify abortion gaps and recommend policy solutions.
“It’s certainly by design that we’re leading this effort and supporting our values,” Hicks said.
Without the council’s work throughout the legislative session, lawmakers would not have been able to respond so quickly to the Supreme Court’s decision, Hicks said. Many bills included amendments reacting to bans and restrictions announced in other states.
“My whole generation lived with Roe v. Wade being the law of the land, so it’s not like we have a map of how to navigate a system without those protections,” Hicks said.
“It really took everyone coming together to craft this collection of bills to become a state of reproductive freedom and a beacon of hope.”
This week, an Arizona judge reinstated a near-total ban on abortion dating back to 1864, and abortion clinics in Southern California are already bracing for an influx of patients.
Newsom vetoed a package bill last week, citing “lower-than-expected revenues” and the need for fiscal responsibility. This bill would have required the state to fund pilot reproductive health programs in five counties.
Although fiercely opposed by a minority of religious groups and conservatives, the measures crossed Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the legislature.
Voters will decide in November whether to add a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to obtain an abortion.
Prop 1 In a Minute: Reproductive Freedom
Newsom has made abortion a central part of his re-election campaign, drawing on California’s reputation as a “safe haven” for reproductive health in his frequent attacks on the politics of other states. Likewise, many Democrats vying for a seat have made abortion the defining issue of the upcoming national and midterm elections. In June, Newsom approved a budget investing more than $200 million in reproductive health services.
The most controversial pieces of legislation were AB 2223, by Democratic Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks of Oakland, and SB 1142, by Democratic Senators Anna Caballero of Merced and Nancy Skinner of Berkeley.
Wicks’ measure abolishes the requirement for coroners to investigate stillbirths and bars the prosecution of anyone who terminates a pregnancy even if the abortion is self-induced or occurs outside of the medical system. Protesters outside the Capitol and conservative lawmakers claimed the legislation would legalize infanticide, which Wicks called “misinformation.”
Caballero and Skinner’s measure introduced the $20 million Abortion Convenience Support Fund to help women pay for travel, accommodation and other expenses that advocates say create barriers to abortion. access. Although the money was guaranteed in the state budget, Newsom limited its use to California residents, a move abortion supporters rallied to reverse in the final days of the legislative session. Last-minute amendments to the omnibus health care budget bill allow out-of-state residents to receive grants from the fund.
Caballero and Skinner’s measure also required the state to create an abortion information website detailing state laws and resources, which Newsom launched two weeks before the bill was signed into law.
California has just launched a NEW resource for those seeking reproductive care – whether or not you live here.
Find information on access to abortion and reproductive health.
Abortion remains legal and protected in California. We are here for you. pic.twitter.com/tZ0kquQcoK
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) September 13, 2022
Other measures in the package allow nurse practitioners to perform certain abortion procedures without the supervision of a physician; providing loans and bursaries to clinicians-in-training who are committed to providing reproductive health care in underserved areas; and prohibit California-based law enforcement, medical providers and technology companies from cooperating with law enforcement in states where abortion is criminalized.
Although California does not collect comprehensive abortion data, about 154,000 abortions were performed in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a national reproductive rights think tank that periodically surveys abortion providers.
Guttmacher estimates California has become the closest abortion provider for 1.3 million women of childbearing age as other states institute bans. More conservative estimates suggest between 8,000 and 16,100 more women will flock to California for abortions, according to UCLA’s Center on Law, Reproductive Health, and Policy.
CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media company explaining California policies and politics.