Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked a group of reproductive health experts to assist in writing policies that would strengthen and better prepare California’s network of abortion providers for the increase of patients.
By Emily Faith Grodin, Staff Writer
When a Texas law banning abortions beyond the initial detection of a fetal heartbeat took effect on Sept. 1, it created a domino effect in the reproductive health field. Almost instantly, California abortion clinics saw an influx of patients.
Gov. Gavin Newsom convened the California Future of Abortion Council in September, a meeting of reproductive health experts and groups like Planned Parenthood and Black Women for Wellness. The purpose of the Council is to increase funding for abortion services, provide assistance for women who must travel out of state for an abortion and add health care providers to the abortion network that already exists. The Council was joined by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and state Senate leader Toni Atkins, who was the director of a women’s health clinic in San Diego during the 1980’s.
“California has been a leader in protecting access to sexual and reproductive rights, but as we’ve seen recently with unprecedented attacks on these rights, we can and must do more,” Newsom said in an official statement following the council.
The LA Times reported that Planned Parenthood has seen a 50 percent increase in out of state patients since the Texas abortion ban went into effect in September. According to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that conducts research in reproductive health, 26 states including Arizona and Utah, are likely to ban abortions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade following an upcoming case in December. They also found that there could be up to a 3,000 percent increase of patients migrating to California seeking abortion care. Other states like Ohio and Florida have taken steps to enact similar bans to the one already in place in Texas.
Newsom signed two laws on Sept. 22 that would further protect abortion providers and their patients. The first law makes it illegal to film any person within 100 feet of an abortion clinic. The second law makes it easier for young people still on their parents’ insurance plans to protect certain information, including abortion care.
The Texas abortion ban caused outcry around the nation when the Supreme Court voted to keep the ban in place on Sept. 1, and Justices later heard arguments on the case on Nov. 1. They are to rule on the constitutionality of the ban in June 2022. On Dec. 1 the court will hear yet another abortion case that challenges the constitutionality of a law blocking abortions after 15 weeks in Mississippi. If the court is in favor of the Mississippi law, it could throw out abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade.