LA Times: Bills aimed at creating California abortion sanctuary headed to Newsom
BY MELODY GUTIERREZ
SACRAMENTO — California is on the verge of making it easier for nurse practitioners to provide abortions, barring coroner investigations after a fetal death and dedicating $20 million to expand access to reproductive care programs in Los Angeles County under bills passed by the state Legislature before the body adjourned Wednesday.
Lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom the last of 15 bills aimed at strengthening California’s already robust abortion protections, two of which were already signed into law. Supporters say the legislation would further cement the state’s efforts to be a “beacon of hope” in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade.
“As judges and lawmakers across the country continue to throw pregnant women into impossible and perilous positions, I am proud that California is resolutely moving in the opposite direction,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). “Abortion is healthcare — period. And like other medical decisions, it is a private conversation between patients and their healthcare providers.”
California officials began preparing a year ago for the potential effect of Roe vs. Wade being overturned, with Newsom asking Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and dozens of other supporters to develop a plan for the state to become a sanctuary for anyone denied abortion services in other parts of the country. The bills passed by the Legislature were recommended by that coalition, the California Future of Abortion Council.
Among those bills is Senate Bill 1375 by Atkins, which would allow specifically trained nurse practitioners to perform first trimester abortions without the supervision of a physician. Assembly Bill 2205 by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) would create new transparency requirements for health plans participating in Covered California to better understand how much in abortion premiums have been collected and how those have been used to pay claims.
Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign bills.
In March, Newsom signed SB 245 by Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), which eliminates out-of-pocket costs for abortions, including co-pays that on average range from $300 for a medication abortion to nearly $900 for a procedural abortion, according to the California Health Benefits Review Program.
“As more and more states institute bans on abortions, California will be the state that continues to see patients coming here to receive care,” Hicks said.