In-Depth: Lawmakers introduce 13 bills to protect abortion rights in California

CA Legislative Women's Caucus behind proposals
Posted at 6:06 AM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 10:48:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — California lawmakers have a plan to secure abortion rights and access for everyone in the state, no matter what the Supreme Court decides for the future of Roe v. Wade.

"California has a responsibility. We're going to fight for all women," says Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Los Angeles), the Chair of the California Legislative Women's Caucus. "We realize that a right without access, without privacy, without protection is an empty promise."

The Women's Caucus is sponsoring a suite of 13 bills currently in the California Assembly and Senate to codify abortion protections.

"We will not back down, we will double down," says Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).

The bills are:

  • AB 1666: Protection for patients and providers against abortion lawsuits from other states
  • AB 2091: Protection of medical privacy from out of state subpoenas for data
  • AB 2223: Prohibits investigations into fetal deaths after 20 weeks
  • AB 2626: Prohibits medial/nursing boards from revoking or suspending licenses for providing an abortion
  • AB 2134: Creates the CA Reproductive Health Equity Program to give grant funding for providers to offer abortion/contraception access to low-income people
  • AB 2205: Requires healthcare plans to create separate funding category for abortion services and report balance yearly
  • AB 2320: Provides funding to primary care clinics in 5 counties for marginalized patients who need to travel for service
  • AB 1918: Creates CA Reproductive Health Service Corps to recruit, train and retain a diverse workforce of health care professionals
  • AB 2586: Creates working group to address reproductive health inequities for communities of color
  • SB 245: Eliminates copay for abortions (already passed and signed into law)
  • SB 1245: Creates LA County Abortion Access Safe Haven Program to provide safe access to abortion, regardless of residency status
  • SB 1142: Create website and educational programs to help find abortion services in the state and create fund to help low-income women pay for abortion services
  • SB 1375: Ease nurse practitioner requirements for performing an abortion without a doctor present

"All of these bills weave together to strengthen the infrastructure," says Sen. Atkins. "There is a cost to that, but we need to be doing that anyway."

"We will fight and do what we need to do to ensure that we have an equitable system that is accessible to anyone needing refuge here in California," adds Asm. Garcia.

But while the members of the Women's Caucus see these bills as "necessary," others call them "extreme."

"This is abortion without restriction, and we don't have that anywhere in the United States." says Josh McClure, the Executive Director of the Pregnancy Care Clinic, an anti-abortion group in San Diego and El Cajon.

McClure specifically points to AB 2223, calling it a way of "legalizing infanticide."

"It may not be the intent," he says of the bill. "But that would be the result."

McClure adds he doesn't see much in the way of a compromise between the two sides.

"If you believe that the unborn is a person deserving of protection under our Constitution, where's the middle ground to have? Any step beyond that is more than just a compromise, it's the exact opposite," he says.

But anti-abortion groups face an uphill battle in California. Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in both the Assembly and the Senate. That makes it likely all of the bills will pass. They're also planning a Constitutional amendment that would specifically protect abortion access as a right in the state. They hope to have that in front of voters by the November ballot.

Meanwhile, Gov. Newsom just released a revised version of his budget to include $125 million to expand abortion access and fund many of the programs created by the bills.

Asm. Garcia says all of this will happen no matter what the Supreme Court decides. But the leaked draft opinion that appears to overturn Roe v. Wade gave the Caucus a greater sense of urgency.

"I would hope that the people on the other side realize that we should not be in the business of telling a woman how to regulate their body," she says.