California Legislature Passes 13 Abortion Bills In One Day

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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The California legislature sent a package of 13 abortion laws, aimed at making abortion more accessible for women, to the governor’s desk Wednesday.

The bills prevent states from obtaining records of patients or doctors who performed an abortion in California and allows for nurse practitioners and midwives to conduct first trimester abortions without a doctor present, Reuters reported. Other pieces of legislation intend to end prosecutions for abortion and create a website to help women navigate locations and how to pay for an abortion.

Another bill protects a woman from receiving an out-of-state subpoena, and one prohibits an investigation into the death of an unborn child after 20 weeks of gestation, according to San Diego 10 News.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom, an advocate for legal abortion, is expected to sign the bills into law. The governor publicly said in 2019 that any woman in the country is welcome to travel to California for an abortion.

“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,” Democratic state Senator President Pro Tem Toni Atkins said, according to the LA Times. “Abortion is healthcare — period. And like other medical decisions, it is a private conversation between patients and their healthcare providers.”

“This is abortion without restriction, and we don’t have that anywhere in the United States,” Josh McClure, the Executive Director of the pro-life Pregnancy Care Clinic, said, according to San Diego 10 News. (RELATED: Newsom Signs California Gun Control Bill Modeled After Texas Abortion Law) 

The UCLA Center for Reproductive Health, Law and Policy estimates that 10,600 women will travel to California per year to undergo an abortion, Reuters reported.

The state passed laws earlier this year to provide $200 million in expanding access statewide and $20 million in travel grants for non-California residents seeking abortions, eliminating insurance co-pays for women and to protect patients and providers from lawsuits from other states, Reuters reported.

California has historically been an abortion friendly state. In 2018, California became the first state to pass a bill requiring publicly funded universities to provide abortion pills in their on-campus health centers.

In 2021, Newsom vowed California would become a “sanctuary” state in the event that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The governor, along with abortion providers, formed the California Future of Abortion Council which aimed to fund women in outside state who may seek abortions and provide educational scholarships for those who want to perform abortions.

California law allows for a woman to obtain an abortion before the point of fetal viability, which is typically determined around 23-24 weeks of gestation, according to the Shouse California Law Group. Once the fetus is viable, abortion is only permitted in a case threatening the life or health of the mother.