California wants to be the national haven for abortion rights

A crowd gathers outside the Supreme Court on Monday night.
A crowd gathers outside the Supreme Court on Monday night after a purported leak says that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned.
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)
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As some states have placed severe restrictions on abortions in recent years, California has made it clear it wants to be a safe haven for reproductive rights.

“As states across the country attempt to move us backward by restricting fundamental reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in March, signing a law making abortions cheaper for people on private insurance plans.

The effort has been building steam for several years.

In 2019, Newsom signed a proclamation “welcoming women to California” for the procedure and reaffirming the right of women to terminate a pregnancy — a protection courts have ruled is covered under sweeping language in the state’s Constitution.


Last September, Newsom asked Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and dozens of other supporters to develop a plan for the state to become a sanctuary for anyone denied abortion services in other parts of the country. The coalition, the California Future of Abortion Council, recommended 45 changes to improve access for residents and create additional capacity should other states outlaw abortion.

But California’s efforts are expected to get more attention after Politico reported Monday that a draft opinion circulated among U.S. Supreme Court justices suggests that earlier this year, a majority had thrown support behind overturning the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide. The Los Angeles Times could not authenticate the purported draft.

Draft rulings can be revised in the final months as justices weigh in during the writing process.

“California will not sit back. We are going to fight like hell,” Newsom said Monday night.

Several bills have been introduced this year in the Legislature by Democrats, who have been preparing countermeasures to expand abortion access for those who live in and out of California — a months-long effort reflecting the possibility that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe vs. Wade.

The state legalized abortion in 1967, years before the Roe vs. Wade decision, and those protections have since been expanded by the Legislature and governor, the California Supreme Court and a 1972 voter-approved state constitutional amendment protecting privacy rights. Those protections include funding for abortions provided to low-income women covered by the Medi-Cal program and the right for minors to obtain an abortion without parental consent.

California has gone beyond the topic of abortion. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a Texas state law that bans most abortions there, Newsom in December said he’ll push for a California law that would deter the manufacture and sale of assault rifles in the state — relying on an effort to empower citizens for enforcement, similar to the Texas anti-abortion law.


Here is a rundown of what California is doing to protect the right to an abortion.

The law eliminates co-pay and deductible fees for abortions, as California lawmakers prepare for a potential overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

March 23, 2022

While other states restrict abortion and the Supreme Court weighs Roe vs. Wade, California is preparing to serve the country’s abortion patients.

Nov. 15, 2021

With a wave of conservative states enacting tough new limits on abortions, Gov.

May 31, 2019

In the upcoming session, California legislators hope to push forward Senate Bill 245, which would put an end to out-of-pocket costs paid by those seeking abortions.

Dec. 17, 2021

The bill is one of several introduced this year by California Democrats as countermeasures to restrictive abortion laws passed in other states.

March 3, 2022

State lawmakers may help pay for people from other states to come to California for abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade.

Dec. 8, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom is justified in countering the Lone Star State’s cynical attack on abortion rights while strengthening California’s enforcement of gun laws.

Dec. 16, 2021

The proposed law would let California citizens sue gun manufacturers, similar to how Texas has made it easier for its residents to sue abortion providers.

Dec. 11, 2021

While other states restrict abortion and the Supreme Court weighs Roe vs. Wade, California is preparing to serve the country’s abortion patients.

Nov. 15, 2021