States look to California’s plan for a post-Roe world

Now, Maine Democrats are pushing a bill to eliminate abortion co-pays, a California policy enacted last year that Bonta is defending in court in a lawsuit filed by crisis pregnancy centers. the abortion

And in Minnesota, where Democrats flipped control of the legislature in the 2022 midterms, lawmakers are pushing the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act that replicates several California policies aimed at protecting patients and providers from legal harm.

“One of the places we looked to for inspiration was the project that came out of California,” said the Democratic state senator. Erin Maye Quade said in an interview. “Minnesota has never had a reproductive freedom majority in both houses, ever, in its history, until now. So we had to develop new muscle.”

California’s example, he added, was “very helpful.”

Illinois just passed a law to protect doctors who treat out-of-state patients, as California did last year. And lawmakers in Missouri and Washington have introduced bills similar to those in California that would prevent state officials and law enforcement from obtaining personal medical data from period trackers and other health apps.

Massachusetts’ law to make abortion pills available on public college and university campuses, modeled after California’s and passed in July, will take effect later this year. And New York may be right behind them.

“Each state is obviously different, but we’re definitely seeing what [California] is doing,” said New York Democratic Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who chairs the health committee in Albany. “Like them, we need to provide access, to the best of our ability, to people in our states and allow people to come here and take advantage of it as well.”

New York lawmakers also voted Tuesday to put a constitutional amendment codifying abortion rights on the ballot in 2024, something California did last year.

Maryland lawmakers recently invited Bonta to testify as they debated their own measures to protect abortion providers and their patients from prosecution, and California officials met with Vice President Kamala Harris, a former U.S. attorney general. state, to guide it through the new policies and offer advice for other states that want to follow suit.

The Newsom administration created a website that lists every action the state has taken related to abortion (administrative, executive and legislative) with the full language of the bill available if any state legislator want to copy it

“The kind of fight we’re having here is happening elsewhere in the country, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel,” said Julia Spiegel, Newsom’s deputy legal secretary.

Becoming an “Abortion Sanctuary”

California’s new abortion laws were designed with two purposes: to strengthen protections for people seeking and providing abortions and to expand access to the procedure.

In the first category are laws that prevent California law enforcement and private companies from cooperating with other states trying to prosecute someone for an abortion performed in California and laws that also block subpoenas and requests of information about the procedure outside the state. There’s also a new law to protect people in the state from criminal and civil liability if they suffer a miscarriage, a direct response to a Kings County prosecutor who jailed two California women in recent years for allegedly using drugs during pregnancy that resulted in stillbirth. . .

Other new state laws aim to prepare California clinics to serve the thousands of patients from around the country who already travel from anti-abortion states and ensure that the influx does not prevent access for residents of California

More than $200 million in state funding has been allocated to help people from other states pay for travel, lodging and other necessities, reimburse doctors for abortions for people who can’t afford them, and help clinics hire and train more suppliers

Most of this funding has yet to be dispersed. But as the state’s clinics continue to be flooded with patients six months after the fall of Roe, Dipti Singh, the general counsel for Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley, said other new state laws are already having an impact. Among them: A faster and easier process for out-of-state providers to get licensed in California offers new legal protections to medical workers who perform the procedure.

“We are afraid that many providers said they would not perform abortions [on out-of-state patients] because of personal and professional risks. But we’re not seeing that,” she said. “And patients continue to come in all over the place because California is going above and beyond to ensure that it’s a state of reproductive freedom.”

State officials, including Newsom, aren’t just preparing for traveling patients, they’re actively courting them.

In addition to paying for billboards last year in South Dakota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas promoting the state as an “abortion sanctuary,” the Newsom administration launched an online tool to help people across the country find a California. .provider, make an appointment and learn about the state’s new legal protections and financial supports.

In the four months since the site launched, the governor’s office told POLITICO, there have been nearly 60,000 unique visitors, and nearly 60 percent of them are from outside California.

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