(The Center Square) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed over a dozen new abortion bills, including new privacy protections and bans on law enforcement providing information to out-of-state entities regarding abortion in the state. Opponents say the state is committing “infanticide.”
The package of bills, 13 in total, comes after several states have either tightened abortion restrictions or banned the procedure after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Following the high court’s decision, Newsom and several California lawmakers promised to make California a beacon for abortion access.
The state budget signed in June included $200 million for reproductive health care, which included millions in grants to providers who care for uninsured patients and funding to launch abortion.ca.gov, a new website that provides information on abortion providers in California. Additionally, a budget trailer bill included millions to pay for some out-of-state travel for individuals seeking an abortion in California.
Included in the stack of bills Newsom signed Tuesday are two measures to increase protections and privacy for individuals who obtain abortions in California. Assembly Bill 2091 prohibits health care providers from releasing medical information about a patient seeking abortion care in response to an out-of-state subpoena. Assembly Bill 1242 prohibits law enforcement from cooperating with out-of-state entities seeking information about a lawful abortion obtained in California.
“California is setting a national privacy standard,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), author of AB 1242. “As pro-choice states, we must be just as proactive in protecting abortion rights as extremist states have been in destroying them.”
Among the more contentious measures signed Tuesday included Assembly Bill 2223 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland. AB 2223 removes the existing requirement that coroners investigate “known or suspected” self-induced or criminal abortions and prevents people from being prosecuted based on their pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion.
Religious groups who opposed an earlier version of the bill, including the California Catholic Conference, claimed that it would legalize “infanticide.” Wicks and other bill supporters have rejected that claim as false.
Other measures in the package of new laws allow nurse practitioners who complete required training to perform an abortion without supervision from a physician, prohibit health care service plans from imposing a cost-sharing requirement for vasectomies, and provide scholarships to health care professionals who will provide reproductive care in underserved areas.
“We’re doing everything we can to protect people from any retaliation for accessing abortion care while also making it more affordable to get contraceptives,” Newsom said in a statement Tuesday. “Our Legislature has been on the frontlines of this fight, and no other legislative body in the country is doing more to protect these fundamental rights – I’m proud to stand with them again and sign these critical bills into law.”