Despite the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark federal abortion rights case Roe v. Wade, access to abortion in California will continue to be protected by state law and these rights will likely soon be expanded by Democratic leaders.
The state has been preparing for an influx of areas of the country where bans will be revived for the first time since 1973, with several bills and budget proposals calling for millions to be set aside for abortion services for the uninsured, and workforce programs to increase service providers. And to help patients traveling from other countries. The Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports reproductive health and abortion rights, said 26 states will ban all or nearly all abortions now that the historic status has been rescinded.
said Carrie Franklin, faculty director at the University of California’s Center for Reproductive Health, Law and Policy, which released a report this month estimating that between 8,000 and 16,000 people will travel to California each year for abortion care.
This includes as many as 9,400 other people from anti-abortion states seeking care in Los Angeles County alone, according to a UCLA report. That would put additional pressure on California’s abortion providers, Franklin said, creating a residual effect on residents seeking reproductive care even if state laws remain unchanged.
California law gives anyone of childbearing age “the fundamental right to choose to have children or to choose and obtain an abortion.” This includes minors, who, under state law, can consent to an abortion without their parents’ knowledge.
The state allows a woman to have an abortion up to the point that the doctor determines “there is a reasonable possibility that the fetus will remain permanently outside the womb without the application of exceptional medical procedures” or if the procedure is necessary in order to “protect the life or health of the woman.”
State law does not state the exact point in pregnancy when viability will occur, instead allowing a physician to make this decision based on “good faith medical judgment.” In most cases, doctors considered the fetus to be viable after 24 weeks. Most women seek an abortion early in their pregnancy, with nearly 93% of procedures in 2019 occurring before 13 weeks of pregnancy, while less than 1% were after 21 weeks, according to federal data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. . The data do not specify when a miscarriage after 21 weeks is the result of a medical condition.
California requires Medi-Cal, the state’s poor health care program, and special plans to cover the cost of abortion. In March, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill requiring state-licensed health insurers to cover the full cost of an abortion, without a co-pay, deductible or other cost-sharing that could average $300 for medication. Abortion costs roughly $900 for a procedural abortion, according to the California Health Benefits Review Program.
“California has strong safeguards,” Franklin said. “So losing federal constitutional protections will not strip Californians of necessary access rights.”
Earlier this month, Senate Pro Tim President Tony Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced a constitutional amendment that would require voters to enshrined California’s abortion protections in the state constitution. Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 10 prohibits the state from denying or interfering with a person’s “reproductive liberty in his most private decisions, which include his fundamental right to choose abortion and his fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives,” according to the text of the amendment.
The SCA 10 report acquitted the Senate this week, not the Assembly. The proposal must pass the Senate and state by two-thirds approval in each House before the June 30 deadline to put a procedure on the statewide ballot in November.
“This effort, as well as the legislative package presented by the Legislative Women’s Caucus, is necessary to show that California meets this moment,” Planned Parenthood California president Jodi Hicks said in a statement. “California’s recognition that, no matter what the Supreme Court decides, health care, including abortion, is a right.”
Anti-abortion groups and religious groups have long targeted California’s abortion laws, which say the state’s protections go too far.
“The sad truth is that California already has some of the most adequate abortion laws and services in the country,” the California Catholic Bishops’ Conference said in a statement. “By providing extensive funding for abortion services without any equitable funding in return for pregnant women and mothers, the state exercises a coercive destructive power in favor of ending innocent lives.”
The legislature sent Governor Gavin Newsom a budget last week that included millions to expand abortion services, including $20 million to support a state abortion support fund that will provide money for airfare, housing or gas money for pregnant women, including those seeking care From outside. The state. Newsom pushed for additional funding for abortion services, saying California “will not stand idly by as women all over America are being stripped of their rights.”
Atkins said the state should be prepared to help as many women seeking refuge in California as possible, as providers have already reported an increase in abortions sought by residents living in Texas and other restricted states.
“The decision to have an abortion should be up to the person,” Atkins said. “Just as they make many other important health decisions every day for themselves and their family.”
Access to abortion is not something many people think about until it is needed, Atkins said.
“Maybe that’s the privilege we’ve had for 50 years, but now a whole generation of women will have to think about it especially those who don’t live in California or states like California,” she said.
Abortion rights are protected under the California Constitution in two ways. The California Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that a woman has a fundamental right to choose whether to have children on the basis of the right to privacy or liberty in matters relating to marriage, family, and sexuality.
“The court has interpreted ‘freedom’ in the California constitution, just as the U.S. Supreme Court did four years later in Roe v. Wade,” said Erwin Chimerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley Law.
In 1974, the state constitution was amended to include the right to privacy, which the state Supreme Court found seven years later included a woman’s right to choose an abortion.
“California has been at the forefront of protecting abortion rights and continues to lead,” said Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute. “Abortion opponents are already thinking about where to go next.”
At the top of the anti-abortion agenda, Nash said, is the pursuit of a ban on abortion by taking control of Congress and the presidency. Nash acknowledged that such a move would be difficult given the 60 votes needed to pass legislation in the US Senate.
“But even talk of a national abortion ban is very concerning,” Nash said.