After fall of Roe, California expands abortion protections

Sep 1, 2022, 3:17 PM | Updated: 3:36 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Legislature wrapped up its work on Wednesday after approving more than a dozen bills to make it easier for people to get an abortion, a show of force that was the result of more than a year of careful planning meant to stake the state’s claim as a sanctuary for women after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Lawmakers passed 15 bills plus approved $200 million in new spending to bolster the state’s already robust abortion protections. The flurry of activity isn’t over, as voters will decide in November whether to make abortion a constitutional right in the nation’s most populous state.

The bills easily made it through the Democratic-dominated Legislature and some have already become law. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign most of the rest before the end of the month.

Over the next few years, the state will funnel millions of dollars to clinics to cover the cost of abortions for women who can’t afford them — including women who are living in the country without legal permission. It has pledged to spend up to $20 million to bring women to California from other states for abortions, covering expenses like travel, lodging and child care.

California will block enforcement within the state of other states’ abortion bans, including a Texas law that lets people sue anyone who performs or aids an abortion on a woman from that state. It will also stop police departments and corporations from complying with out-of-state subpoenas or other requests for information about abortions legally obtained in California.

Women with private insurance won’t pay co-pays for abortions, while religious employers who don’t cover the cost of abortions through insurance would be forced to provide their workers a list of publicly available reproductive services.

“None of it was a knee-jerk reaction that was trying to do legislation in any kind of performative way,” said Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “All of it was very well thought out ahead of time with a group of experts.”

Abortion foes are preparing to respond, with California Family Council President Jonathan Keller saying the group is “exploring all of our legal and procedural options.” Keller said the bill forcing religious employers to give lists of abortion services is “really ripe for a Supreme Court challenge,” citing a previous California law the courts struck down that required crisis pregnancy centers to alert clients to publicly available abortion options.

“California is not offering (women) a free plane ticket and a free hotel room to come to California and deliver their baby or come to California and get prenatal care,” Keller said. “They are literally saying we will fly you here but only if you make the choice that is the government-approved decision for your pregnancy. I think a lot of people … see some hypocrisy there.”

State Sen. Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego and the Senate’s top leader, said deciding whether to get an abortion is “profoundly personal.” Atkins worked at an abortion clinic in San Diego, where she said most of her clients chose to get abortions but some did not once presented with all of their options.

“Women need support for whatever they decide they need to do, and they need to be able to talk to their health care provider, their advocate, to get that information and be directed to where they need to go,” she said. “People don’t want to think about having an abortion every day. … I think people should have the luxury not to have to think about this, unless it becomes something they need.”

The abortion bill that got the most attention in California aims to stop prosecutors from charging women with murder for having stillbirths because of drug use or other issues before birth. If prosecutors charge them anyway, the legislation would let women sue them for damages.

Democrats amended the bill to make clear it only prevented prosecutions for pregnancy losses that occurred “in utero.” But abortion foes said the bill was too broad and would prevent coroners from investigating some infant deaths.

“This bill’s true purpose is to cover up the crime of a botched abortion or self-induced abortion,” said Republican Sen. Shannon Grove.

Lawmakers likely aren’t finished passing abortion bills. Atkins said she feels that California is still “in the process” of responding to the end of federal abortion protections, adding that many communities in California still don’t have abortion providers.

“The goal is to make sure that every county in every community has coverage,” Atkins said. “We are starting to see more women, and it’s going to cause others to have to wait.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


(Facebook Photo/Superior Court of Arizona in Yavapai County)...
Associated Press

Arizona judge has cases reassigned following DUI arrest

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that all cases currently assigned to a Yavapai County Superior Court judge recently arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI will be reassigned to other judges.
3 days ago
Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
6 days ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
6 days ago
(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
12 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
20 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...
Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
After fall of Roe, California expands abortion protections