Apr 22, 2024 - Politics

California plans to allow Arizona doctors to provide abortions across state lines

Gavin Newsom with an NBC sign in the background.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom in February. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

When Arizona's near-total abortion ban takes effect later this year, women in need of care are likely to head to neighboring states. California officials are working to make it easier for Arizona women's doctors to assist.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed Sunday on MSNBC that state lawmakers there are working on a bill to ensure Arizona providers can perform abortions for Arizonans in his state.

  • Brandon Richards, a spokesperson for the governor, said in an emailed statement Monday that Newsom's team was working in coordination with the Arizona governor and attorney general on the emergency legislation.

The intrigue: Newsom said the bill was inspired by Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake's suggestion that Arizonans could cross the border to California for abortion access following the state Supreme Court ruling.

  • "We took that quite literally and quite seriously," Newsom said from a Planned Parenthood clinic in Sacramento.

Zoom in: Newsom said California has seen an increase in people traveling to seek reproductive care in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision in 2022.

  • California law allows abortion without restriction until fetal viability.

Reality check: Even if Arizona doctors can provide care in California, there's no guarantee Arizona patients can get to them.

  • Abortion Fund of Arizona executive director Eloisa Lopez told 19th News traveling out-of-state for care could cost patients $1,500-$2,000.
  • The fund — the state's largest financial assistance program for abortion care — will not be able to afford to help every woman who needs an abortion at that price point, Lopez said.
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