California’s Democratic leaders often tout the state as a safe haven for abortion rights. They’re now trying to help women in Arizona get around a potential ban.

But as CalMatters Capitol reporter Alexei Koseff explains in his deeply reported story, there are hurdles to abortion access that remain in California, including in the Democratic stronghold city of Beverly Hills, where an abortion provider lost its lease at a medical center last year.

DuPont Clinic is a Washington, D.C. provider that performs third-trimester abortions. According to the company’s lawsuit against Beverly Hills and Douglas Emmett, Inc. (the landlord that rescinded its lease), DuPont chose Beverly Hills for its second clinic partly because it believed the city would support it.

But as renovations for a leased office and permit applications with the city were underway, anti-abortion protestors began showing up outside the building that housed DuPont’s office. In April 2023, the group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust projected the words “MURDER MILL” onto the side of the building, and one clinic opponent during a city council meeting suggested that Beverly Hills would develop a “reputation of condoning murder.”

DuPont’s lawsuit alleges that the city then met with representatives from landlord Douglas Emmett and directly asked if there was any way to “simply prevent DuPont from opening its clinic.” In June 2023, the landlord canceled DuPont’s lease.

Citing the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Beverly Hills did not respond to a list of questions from Alexei about the DuPont controversy, but did say the decision to rescind the lease was not made by the city. Underscoring the sensitivities permeating this saga, when Alexei attempted to ask a Beverly Hills councilmember questions, a city employee physically stood in front of him, shutting down the conversation.

Meanwhile, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust has taken responsibility for shutting down the Beverly Hills clinic. As for abortion access advocates, a representative from the National Institute for Reproductive Health said what happened in Beverly Hills “can happen anywhere” if people and elected officials are complacent about reproductive rights.

From Cal Matters