California Governor Gavin Newsom and other top officials vowed that the most-populous state will be an abortion sanctuary and will lead other liberal areas seeking to protect reproductive rights in the wake of the US Supreme Court ruling dismantling Roe v. Wade.
State lawmakers are quickly advancing bills to expand abortion access, including a measure to let voters to decide in November whether to enshrine the right to the procedure in California’s constitution. Newsom, a Democrat up for re-election in the liberal bastion in November, signed a bill on Friday that would protect out-of-state abortion seekers from civil actions in their home states, as well as local providers.
“I want folks to know all around the rest of the country and many parts of the globe, that I hope we’re an antidote to your fear, to your anxiety, perhaps to the cynicism that many of you are feeling about the fate and future of not only our state but the world we’re living in,” Newsom said.
The governor appeared in a Friday briefing with his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Senate President pro tempore Toni Atkins, reproductive rights advocates and state legislators to express outrage, sorrow and resolve after the highest court struck down the 1973 decision that established abortion rights.
Newsom has proposed a $125 million package to bolster abortion access in his state. The money would go to providing care for uninsured people, improving infrastructure for reproductive health facilities and giving grants for outreach and education. He also has proposed that companies that move to California from areas with restrictive laws on abortion and LGBTQ+ rights would have a stronger chance of winning tax credits aimed at increasing employment and capital investment.
Other states’ “inhumane laws will not cross California’s borders,” Atkins said. “We are here to further rights, not take them away. You are welcome here.”
In addition, Newsom and the governors of liberal-leaning West Coast states of Oregon and Washington said they signed a commitment to defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives, and to protect patients and doctors against efforts by other states to export their abortion bans to their states.
Newsom has the support of public opinion. A poll released in April by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 76% of likely voters in the state don’t want Roe overturned.
Some 26 states are expected to implement laws that effectively ban abortion access, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the nonprofit abortion-rights advocacy group. That could result in a nearly 3,000% increase of out-of-state women seeking the procedure in California. In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton declared on Friday that abortion is now illegal there, making it the biggest state to prohibit abortion after the ruling.
“We have the resources, and we’re going to fight,” Assemblymember Cristina Garcia said during an earlier Friday briefing. “We will do all
In Orange and San Bernardino counties alone, the number of out-of-state women seeking abortions in Planned Parenthood health centers would jump by 500% to roughly 100 to 120 a month, estimated Nichole Ramirez, Planned Parenthood’s senior vice president of communications for those areas. She said most of the current patients are traveling from Texas, Nevada and Arizona.
“Because of this anticipated influx, we’ve hired more providers, we’ve increased our abortion availability to ensure that we aren’t having issues with out-of-state patients or with Californians being able to get good care,” Ramirez said. “We’re also looking to open another health center in San Bernardino County to accommodate folks driving in from Arizona.”
Crowds of protesters were gathering in cities across the country after Friday’s decision, including at the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, where Democratic Congresswoman and Los Angeles mayoral candidate Karen Bass appeared with other political leaders.
Bass, and her opponent in the mayoral race, Rick Caruso, condemned the court’s decision, both saying they’d fight to protect reproductive rights in California’s biggest city.
“I’m deeply furious. It’s a gut punch,” Annie Day, an organizer for the Los Angeles chapter of abortion rights group Rise Up 4 Abortion, said by phone. “We’re going into the streets to fight for legal abortion on demand.” The group is organizing daily protests in Los Angeles, starting Friday at the US courthouse.
“We’re calling mass, sustained non-violent protests,” said Day. “People should drop out of their jobs, cancel whatever they’re doing and go into the streets.”