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California would subsidize abortion services for uninsured, out-of-state patients under Newsom plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a news conference at a Planned Parenthood office near downtown Los Angeles on May 4.
(Michael R. Blood / Associated Press)

California would set aside $40 million for abortion service providers to help cover uninsured residents and an expected influx of women from other states seeking care if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark ruling in Roe vs. Wade, under a plan unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The subsidies are included in a $125-million plan Newsom will send to legislators on Friday as part of his revised state budget, money earmarked to expand access to abortions and prepare for more women seeking care in California if other states ban or severely limit abortion services. That amount includes an increase of $57 million beyond what was included in his January budget proposal.

Defiant state leaders stood ready Tuesday to protect residents and nonresidents alike from any federal rollbacks of abortion rights.

Newsom is expected to also announce new government incentives for businesses wishing to relocate to California from states with abortion bans or anti-LGBTQ laws — with details expected during Friday’s budget announcement, according to the governor’s office.

“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 a statement. “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.”

The $40 million in subsidies proposed by Newsom would help cover a provider’s cost for abortion services offered to low- and moderate-income individuals without health insurance in California and other states, Newsom’s office said. While California requires state-regulated health plans to cover the cost of abortions, women are more likely to have to pay out of pocket if they are traveling from a state with strict abortion laws.

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Another $15 million in grants would be set aside for community-based reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations to provide outreach and education, such as ensuring Californians know that their own access to abortions would not be overturned with the U.S. Supreme Court’s potential ruling. Another $1 million would be spent on creating a website with information on abortion access and an additional $1 million spent for research on reproductive care obstacles that remain.

California’s Constitution includes broad rights of privacy but has no explicit protection for abortion services.

Newsom’s initial budget proposal called for $20 million to improve physical and information security at clinics that provide abortion services. The governor and legislators will begin negotiating a final state budget agreement next week, with a final plan expected in June. California’s new fiscal year begins on July 1.

“The Governor’s proposed investments ... are a critical step towards not only maintaining, but increasing, access to abortion in California,” said Jodi Hicks, president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “As we prepare for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade and witness other states stripping access to abortion, this investment is crucial to ensuring the future of abortion access in California.”


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