SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Just more than a week after a leaked document suggested the U.S. Supreme Court is prepared to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a reproductive health package that would expand access to vital services like abortions in California.
The package includes $125 million that would go toward the state’s health care infrastructure in addition to incentives for companies looking to flee anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ states and preparations for citizens looking to come to California for reproductive health care services.
“California will not stand idly by as extremists roll back our basic constitutional rights; we’re going to fight like hell, making sure that all women – not just those in California – know that this state continues to recognize and protect their fundamental rights,” Newsom said in the announcement of the package. “We’re expanding access to these critical services, welcoming businesses and their employees fleeing anti-abortion states, and reaffirming our commitment to continuing to work closely with the Legislature and reproductive rights stakeholders to further solidify California’s leadership on abortion rights.”
In January, the governor announced a $68 million package to go toward investments in reproductive health clinical infrastructure, capital infrastructure, improved security, more affordable reproductive care and removing barriers to reproductive health.
Wednesday’s announcement adds $40 million to go toward clinics to offset the costs of abortion services performed for low- and moderate-income uninsured individuals. Another $15 million will go to community-based reproductive health, rights and justice organizations for outreach and education on reproductive and sexual health issues. Lastly, $1 million will go toward the development of a website that will provide information on reproductive health care providers and options for care, and $1 million is for research on the unmet needs for reproductive care services.
Brandon Richards, a communications director with Planned Parenthood, said clinics across California will need the money to meet growing abortion demands if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“Some are looking at expanding health centers, some are looking at expanding hours and appointments that are available, hiring more providers,” he said.
But the increased funding is opposed by anti-abortion advocates.
“We’re going to give out-of-state women, at California taxpayer dollars’ expense, basically an abortion vacation,” said Theresa Brennan, president of the Right To Life League.
Opponents say the money would be better spent on California’s higher-priority problems.
“We have a lot of other issues, homelessness being one of them,” Brennan said.
The reproductive health package is the next step in Gov. Newsom’s efforts to turn California into a sanctuary state for reproductive care including abortions. After the Supreme Court leak, Newsom and other state legislative leaders proposed enshrining the right to choose in the California Constitution. Newsom, Senator Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a joint statement:
“California will not stand idly by as women across America are stripped of their rights and the progress so many have fought for gets erased. We will fight. California is proposing an amendment to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this state. We know we can’t trust the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, so California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution. Women will remain protected here.”
And in late March, Newsom signed legislation to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for abortion services, including fees like co-pays and deductibles.
The governor is calling abortion the defining issue of this year’s election. He released a campaign ad touting his support for reproductive rights.
“It’s clear the governor is trying to get out in front of this,” said CBS13 Political Analyst Gary Dietrich.
Dietrich said it’s a topic that can give Newsom national exposure.
“The governor fashions himself as a cutting edge political leader, whether it be things like climate change or now on abortion,” he said.