California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Tuesday a bill to make abortions more affordable for those on private insurance plans. This is the first of over a dozen bills that state Democratic leaders intend to pass this year in preparation for a possible U.S. Supreme Court decision that could upend Roe v. Wade.
is the new conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court. They are weighing whether to repeal Roe v. Wade. This 1973 landmark ruling banned states from banning abortion.
According to the Guttmacher Institute (a policy and research organization that supports abortion rights), at least 26 states will likely ban abortion or severely restrict access if they do.
This would make it more difficult for women to travel to other states in order to have abortions. California, a Democratic-led state, has proposed and passed new laws to help them.
The Democratic Washington Governor. Jay Inslee has signed a bill to prohibit legal action against those who help or receive abortions. This is in response to Texas’s law that allows people to sue providers and those who assist them.
Oregon legislators included $15 million in the state budget to pay for abortions.
California has a similar bill. It is one of 14 proposed bills that aims to expand and protect abortion access in the most populous state in the country. These bills were inspired last year by a report by the Future of Abortion Council. Newsom formed this group to advise him on how to react if Roe V. Wade is overturned.
Jodi Hicks (CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California) stated that 26 states will ban or restrict abortion. “We are looking at those 26 states so that you have the other half of America that will need to be prepared for how we care for those patients.” “We are all trying to imagine and prepare properly for that impact.”
California requires that all health insurance companies cover abortions. According to an analysis done by the California Health Benefits Review Program, insurers can charge co-pays or deductibles which can increase the cost of an abortion.
These fees were eliminated by the law Newsom signed Tuesday. The law will reduce the cost of abortion, but it will slightly increase monthly premiums for both patients and employers.
According to the California Health Benefits Review Program, the cost savings of eliminating fees will outweigh the higher premiums.
State Sen. Lena Gonzalez authored the law. California is now the fourth state to prohibit the fees, joining New York, Illinois and Oregon.
Newsom stated that while states attempt to restrict fundamental reproductive rights across the country, California will continue to promote and protect reproductive freedom for all.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after 15 week gestation. During a hearing last year on the case, a majority indicated that they would support the law and possibly overturn Roe v. Wade.
The case led to swift action by state legislatures across the country. Idaho lawmakers sent a bill last week to the governor that would prohibit abortions after six weeks. Missouri’s legislators introduced a bill that would make it illegal to have abortions in any other state.
California and other states are currently drafting legislation to combat these measures. These bills include legislation to prohibit disclosing abortion medical information to police or other outside entities, and to protect providers and patients from civil liability.
These measures would allow California to expand its abortion workforce. Some nurse practitioners will be able to perform the procedure under the supervision of doctors. A scholarship program is also set up for students studying reproductive health willing to work in areas that are underserved.
They would also set up funds to help people get abortions. This would include compensating providers who offer free care to low income patients, as well as assisting with travel, lodging, and child care for California women who are seeking the procedure.
Amy Moy, chief of external affairs at Essential Access Health, and a member of a steering committee for Future of Abortion Council, stated that “this legislative package is robust. It’s bold. It’s responsive. And that’s exactly the thing we need right now.”
She said, “We have an unique opportunity and a pressing obligation to ensure that anyone seeking timely sensitive and potentially life-changing abortion care within our state’s borders can do so with dignity, respect and safety.”