Governor Gavin Newsom today ensured that California is the national leader for abortion and reproductive rights by signing the Legislative Women’s Caucus’ Reproductive Justice bill package. The Reproductive Justice package includes legislation that legally protects patients and providers, expands the reproductive health care workforce, and ensures access to affordable care for low-income residents and communities of color.
Earlier this summer, Gov. Newsom signed other bills in the LWC’s Reproductive Justice package, along with the state’s 2022-23 budget, which included a record $200 million to protect and enhance reproductive care and abortion services in California. The LWC’s Reproductive Justice package also included a constitutional amendment to enshrine access to abortion and contraception in the California Constitution — that amendment is now on the November ballot.
The LWC’s Reproductive Justice package responds to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to overturn Roe v. Wade and to actions taken by more than two dozen states to severely restrict or completely outlaw abortions and imprison patients and providers.
“As a Latina from a traditionally marginalized community, I have seen firsthand how lack of access disproportionately affects communities like mine. The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe doesn’t stop abortions, instead it leads to unsafe and deadly abortions for communities of color, low-income communities, trans, and other marginalized communities across the United States,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. “In January, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus introduced a package of 15 bills, preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. We commend Governor Newsom for signing this important package of bills — proof of our long-standing promise to be a refuge state for anyone seeking an abortion. The package protects our reproductive rights by increasing access and privacy of anyone seeking or performing an abortion. We will be the national beacon for reproductive justice.”
“With Governor Newsom’s signature on the Women’s Caucus’ bills, California has shown once again that we are the national leader for abortion care and reproductive justice. We’ve answered President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ call to take all steps necessary to protect abortion rights,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), vice chair of the Women’s Caucus. “The decision by the Supreme Court’s anti-abortion majority has spurred a national crisis that is jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of women across the nation. But California stepped up today. We are responding forcefully to this crisis and we will never give up the fight to ensure both the right and access to abortion and contraception.”
The LWC’s Reproductive Justice bill and budget package stemmed from a report released late last year by the California Future of Abortion Council, which made a series of recommendations to increase access to safe, equitable and affordable abortion care. The CA FAB Council was created one year ago by ACCESS Reproductive
Justice, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Essential Access Health, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Health Law Program, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California with support from Governor Newsom, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), and Attorney General Rob Bonta.
The Legislative Women’s Caucus turned the CA FAB Council’s recommendations into 15 bills, addressing obstacles to obtaining abortion care in California. Today, the governor signed the following bills in the LWC’s Reproductive Justice bill package:
- AB 1242 (Bauer-Kahan), prohibiting law enforcement from cooperating with, or providing information to, out-of-state entities regarding a lawful abortion under California law, and from knowingly arresting a person for performing or aiding in the performance of a lawful abortion or for obtaining an abortion.
- AB 1918 (Petrie-Norris), creating the California Reproductive Health Service Corps to recruit, train, and retain a diverse workforce of healthcare professionals who will be part of reproductive health care teams assigned to work in underserved areas.
- AB 2091 (Bonta), protecting the medical privacy of patients by ensuring out-of-state subpoenas, which seek information related to a patient who received reproductive health care in California, are not granted.
- AB 2134 (Weber), establishing the California Reproductive Health Equity Program to provide grant funding to safety net providers who offer abortion and contraception services to increase access for individuals who seek care in California and lack coverage and cannot pay out-of-pocket for abortion and contraception.
- AB 2205 (Carrillo), requiring insurers to submit an annual report containing information on how much money is currently in those accounts and how much is being used each year to pay claims.
- AB 2223 (Wicks), ensuring that no one in California will be investigated, prosecuted, or incarcerated for ending a pregnancy or experiencing pregnancy loss.
- AB 2586 (Garcia), addressing the reproductive and sexual health disparities that Black, Indigenous and other communities of color face by: 1) developing responsive policy recommendations centered in a Reproductive Justice framework; and 2) supporting Reproductive Justice community-based organizations to equip disparately impacted community members with medically accurate, culturally congruent, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and resources.
- AB 2626 (Calderon), protecting abortion providers by preventing professional boards from revoking or suspending a license for providing lawful abortion care in California or in other states.
- SB 1142 (Caballero/Skinner), creating a one-stop-shop internet webpage that will direct individuals to links for abortion care, post-operation resources, abortion financial support services, and healthcare service resources.
- SB 1245 (Kamlager), supporting a funded pilot program for Los Angeles County to build on the statewide efforts to advance California as a “Reproductive Freedom” state. The program will house innovative approaches and patient-centered collaborations to safeguard access to abortion for patients coming to Los Angeles County, regardless of where a patient resides.
- SB 1375 (Atkins), making necessary clarifications to existing law that allows nurse practitioners (NPs) who meet specified criteria to practice independently without physician supervision. SB 1375 also addresses the shortage of health care professionals able to provide early abortion care by allowing NPs authorized to practice independently to provide first trimester abortion care without physician supervision.