RELEASE: CA LWC Leaders Introduce Urgency Bill in Response to Arizona Abortion Ban

Apr 24, 2024
Sulema Landa,; Karen Bocaling Lapis,

SACRAMENTO – California Legislative Women’s Caucus (LWC) Chair Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Vice Chair Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), in partnership with Gov. Gavin Newsom, announced the introduction of new abortion rights legislation today, responding to Arizona’s sweeping ban on reproductive care. An urgency measure, SB 233 would allow Arizona reproductive care providers to immediately perform abortion services in California under an expedited medical licensing process.

“Anti-abortion forces have resurrected a dead law passed when women couldn’t vote and husbands beating their wives was lawful; it’s clear the real objective is to return women to second-class status,” Senator Skinner said. “With SB 233, the Legislative Women’s Caucus is taking our gloves off once again as we pursue every action necessary to protect women’s reproductive rights, especially the right to an abortion. California is standing strong for Arizonans and their doctors.”

“For many years, but especially since the Dobbs decision, the California Legislative Women's Caucus has led on all of the legislative responses to the attacks on abortion and reproductive rights,” said Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. “We have passed legislation to expand, protect, and strengthen access to reproductive health care in our state, including access to safe abortions for all Californians, and refugees from other states seeking such care. Arizona’s courts, however, think Arizonans should live in 1864. So, to Arizona people of child-bearing age, and those who love and support them, we have your back, at least until you get the chance to reverse this attack on your rights on the Arizona ballot this November.”

Earlier this month, after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the state’s 160-year-old ban on abortion, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes called on California and other states to allow Arizona abortion providers to continue to provide care to Arizonans who travel out of state for reproductive care.

In response, LWC leaders Senator Skinner and Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry are joint authors of new legislation, SB 233, an urgency bill sponsored by Gov. Newsom that would provide an expedited licensing process to allow Arizona reproductive care providers to perform abortions in California.

SB 233 strengthens California’s position as a national beacon of reproductive freedom, and follows the enactment of 27 reproductive rights bills in the last two years authored by members of the LWC, sponsored by the California Future of Abortion Council, and signed into law by the governor.

Those bills, which are now law, include strong protections for people who travel to California for reproductive care and for California providers who assist patients from other states. Also, in November 2022, California voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure enshrining the right to abortion and contraception in the California Constitution.

Over the past year, a wave of new patients from other states have traveled to California for reproductive care, and California providers are expecting the surge to continue as more states, like Arizona, ban abortion. More than 25 million women of child-bearing age live in states that have banned abortion.

An urgency measure, SB 233 would take effect immediately after it’s approved by both houses of the Legislature and signed by Gov. Newsom.