California bills aim to protect abortion rights

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — California lawmakers have a plan to ensure abortion rights and access for everyone in the state, regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling for the future of Roe v. Wade.

“California has a responsibility. We will fight for all women,” said Congresswoman Cristina Garcia (D-Los Angeles), chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. “We realize that a right without access, without privacy, without protection is an empty promise.”

The Women’s Caucus is sponsoring a series of 13 bills currently in the California Assembly and Senate to codify abortion protections.

“We won’t back down, we’ll double down,” said Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).

The invoices are:

  • AB 1666: Protection of Patients and Providers from Abortion Lawsuits in Other States
  • AB 2091: Medical Privacy Protection Against Out-of-State Data Subpoenas
  • AB 2223: Prohibits investigations into fetal deaths after 20 weeks
  • AB 2626: Prohibits medical/nursing boards from revoking or suspending licenses to provide abortion
  • AB 2134: Establishes the CA Reproductive Health Equity Program to provide grants to providers to provide access to abortion/contraception for low-income people
  • AB 2205: Requires health care plans to create a separate funding category for abortion services and report the balance each year
  • AB 2320: Provides funding to primary care clinics in 5 counties for marginalized patients who must travel for services
  • AB 1918: Establishes CA Reproductive Health Service Corps to recruit, train and retain a diverse workforce of healthcare professionals
  • AB 2586: Creates Task Force to Address Inequalities in Reproductive Health for Communities of Color
  • SB 245: Eliminates the copayment for abortions (already adopted and enacted)
  • SB 1245: Creates LA County’s Safe Haven Abortion Access Program to provide safe access to abortion, regardless of residency status
  • SB 1142: Create a website and educational programs to help find abortion services in the state and create a fund to help low-income women pay for abortion services
  • SB 1375: Facilitating Requirements for Nurse Practitioners to Perform Abortion Without a Physician Present

“All of these bills fit together to strengthen the infrastructure,” says Senator Atkins. “There is a cost to this, but we have to do it anyway.”

“We will fight and do what we must to ensure that we have a fair system available to anyone in need of refuge here in California,” adds Asm. Garcia.

But while members of the Women’s Caucus call the bills “necessary,” others call them “extreme.”

“It’s unrestricted abortion, and we don’t have that anywhere in the United States.” said Josh McClure, the executive director of the Pregnancy care clinican anti-abortion group in San Diego and El Cajon.

McClure specifically points to AB 2223, calling it a way to “legalize infanticide.”

“That may not be the intention,” he says of the bill. “But that would be the result.”

McClure adds that he doesn’t see much in the way of a compromise between the two parties.

“If you think the unborn child is a person deserving of protection under our Constitution, what is the middle ground? Any step beyond that is more than just a compromise, it’s the exact opposite” , he said.

But anti-abortion groups face an uphill battle in California. Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in both the House and the Senate. This makes it likely that all bills will pass. They also provide for a constitutional amendment that would specifically protect access to abortion as a right in the state. They hope to have that in front of voters in the November ballot.

Meanwhile, Governor Newsom has just released a revised version of his budget to include $125 million to expand access to abortion and fund many of the programs created by the bills.

Asm. Garcia says all of this will happen regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision. But the leaked draft opinion that appears to overrule Roe v. Wade gave the caucus a greater sense of urgency.

“I hope people on the other side realize that we shouldn’t be there to tell a woman how to regulate her body,” she says.

Bernard P. Love