California has joined law firms and advocacy groups to create a hotline that provides access to information and pro bono services for people who need legal help related to abortion, as the state seeks to become a safe haven for reproductive rights since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
State Attorney General Rob Bonta and officials with the Southern California Legal Alliance for Reproductive Justice made the announcement Tuesday, one year since the U.S. Supreme Court draft decision reversing Roe was leaked.
Calling it a “dark anniversary,” Bonta said that in the ensuing year the national legal landscape surrounding abortion has become “confusing and, frankly, scary.”
He said the new coalition seeks to put patients and care providers at ease by providing a wide range of legal services to people in places where abortion is restricted — including pro bono representation for anyone facing civil or criminal penalties for seeking, providing or assisting in reproductive care.
“They aren’t alone. We’re here. We have support. We have resources. We have guidance, we have counsel for you,” Bonta said at a news conference.
In addition, legal experts will offer guidance about compliance amid shifting restrictions in various states, advice about protecting sensitive health data and support for amicus briefs to advance reproductive rights.
“Unforgiving abortion bans and the devastating health consequences that follow are galvanizing advocates, providers and law firms,” said Lara Stemple, director of the Legal Alliance for Reproductive Justice.
Threats of jail time, fines or protracted legal battles have already caused providers to deny critical care and forced patients to turn to unsafe measures, officials said.
The state and the legal alliance will get support from groups including Planned Parenthood, Access Reproductive Justice, the National Women’s Law Center and the UCLA Law Center on Reproductive Health, Law and Policy….
Original story on KQED.