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California plans to be abortion sanctuary state if Roe v. Wade overturned

A report released Wednesday asks state policymakers to pay for things such as travel, lodging and child care for those coming to California from other states.

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

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority justices signaled they will allow states to ban abortion much earlier in pregnancy. And they're indicating they may go even further to overturn the nationwide Roe v. Wade right that has existed for nearly 50 years.

All six conservative justices, including three appointed by former President Donald Trump, indicated they would uphold a Mississippi law that is in question. That law is much more restrictive than the landmark Roe v. Wade court ruling of 1973. At the very least, upholding the Mississippi law would undermine Roe. And several justices indicated they are ready to get rid of Roe outright. A decision is expected next June. 

A report released Wednesday, Dec. 8, by dozens of abortion providers and advocacy groups asked state policymakers to pay for things such as travel, lodging and child care for those coming to California from other states. The report has the backing of key legislative leaders, including Senate President Pro Team Toni Atkins, a Democrat.

The report also asks lawmakers to reimburse abortion providers for procedures performed for patients who can’t afford them. That includes patients who travel from other states that would otherwise qualify for the state’s Medicaid program. 

The report has the support of top legislative leaders and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

"We think that everyone should be able to access the care they need and make their own decisions about their family's future," said Kristin Ford.

Ford is with the National Abortion Rights Action League, which is part of Governor Newsom's Future of Abortion Council and helped come up with the list of recommendations. 

"Over half of the country could lose access to legal abortion virtually overnight," she said, "and that will have dramatic ramifications for people all across the country trying to make their own decisions."

That’s when California would step up with some 45 recommendations. One of them asks the state to reimburse service providers when a patient can’t afford to pay, even if they’re from out of state. 

“I think if Sacramento decides that they are going to not only fund abortion for in-state residents but begin offering scholarships or other types of incentives, to encourage people to come to California to have abortions, I don't think that's going to be a big hit with taxpayers," Jonathan Keller said. 

Keller is the president of the pro-life California Family Council. He wants Roe v. Wade to be overturned. 

“It's going to be the beginning of continuing to offer support," he said. "That means pregnancy resource centers, expanding their services and their offerings. That means possibly new mother and child care policies.”

It also means the cost could hit taxpayers.

Dr. Daniel Grossman said banning abortions is not going to make it go away. People will just find ways to do it that are not legal and not always the safest option. Dr. Grossman is a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences and sits on the governor’s council.

“This can be life-saving, medical care, and I think we have a responsibility to provide that.”

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