Late Monday night, Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon released a joint statement calling for an amendment that would guarantee abortion as a right in the Golden State. Such a measure would require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers and voter approval at the ballot box — something that may well be within reach, as a survey last year found almost four in five Californians want Roe to stay on the books.
For months, legal scholars and political watchers in California and eastward have speculated that the court would strike down the ruling, which guaranteed federal protection of abortion rights. In anticipation, California lawmakers have said they’re preparing to make the state a “sanctuary” for abortion, as red-state legislatures prepare to roll back access.
The number of patients coming here could be substantial. After Texas passed a law effectively banning abortions after six weeks gestation, one report found that nearly 1,400 Texans were seeking out-of-state abortion care each month, traveling to states like New Mexico and Oklahoma to terminate their pregnancies.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California recently told CalMatters that it has treated at least 80 out-of-state patients per month on average since the Texas law passed in September. And some abortion providers have expressed concern that, as a result of other states outlawing abortion, California clinics could see a surge of demand.
Democrats in the Legislature have already introduced a slate of bills meant to protect and increase access to abortion in California. Among them is Senate Bill 1142, by Sens. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) and Nancy Skinner(D-Berkeley), which would create a state-controlled fund to help pay for abortions for those with financial barriers. Another one, Assembly Bill 2134, by Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego), would provide grants to providers who service low-income individuals whose insurance doesn’t cover abortion or contraception.
State Democratic leaders voiced swift repudiations of the draft majority opinion on Monday night. Shortly after the news broke, Newsom tweeted, “Our daughters, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers will not be silenced. The world is about to hear their fury. California will not sit back. We are going to fight like hell.”
The above comes from a May 3 email from the Politico California Playbook.