States look to California’s blueprint for a post-Roe world

Now, Maine Democrats are pushing for a bill to eliminate co-payments for abortions, a policy California enacted last year that Bonta is defending in court against a lawsuit filed by anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.

And in Minnesota, where Democrats relinquished control of the legislature in midterms 2022, lawmakers are pushing for the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act, which mimics several California policies aimed at protecting patients and providers from legal threats.

“One of the places we looked for inspiration was the blueprint that came out of California,” the Democratic state senator said. said Erin Maye Quade in an interview. “Minnesota has never had a majority for reproductive freedom in both houses of its history. So it was a new muscle that we had to develop.”

California’s example, she added, is “super helpful.”

Illinois just passed legislation protecting doctors who treat patients out of state like California did last year. And lawmakers in Missouri and Washington, similar to California, have introduced bills that would block state officials and law enforcement from obtaining personal medical information from period trackers and other health apps.

The California-inspired Massachusetts law passed in July to provide abortion pills on public college campuses is scheduled to go into effect later this year. And New York could be right behind them.

“Each state is different, of course, but we’re definitely observing something [California] does,” said Amy Paulin, a member of the New York Democratic Assembly, which chairs the Albany Health Committee. “Like them, we must do our best to provide access for the people of our states and allow people to come here and use it as well.”

New York lawmakers also voted Tuesday to put a constitutional amendment to codify abortion rights on the ballot in 2024 — something California did last year.

Maryland lawmakers recently invited Bonta to testify when they discussed their own measures to protect abortion providers and their patients from prosecution, and California officials met with Vice President Kamala Harris, the state’s former attorney general, to guide her through the new guidelines lead and give advice to other states that want to follow suit.

The Newsom administration has created a website that lists all of the actions the state has taken related to abortion — administrative, executive and legislative — with the full legal language available should a legislature in another state wish to copy it.

“The kind of fight we have here is happening elsewhere in the country, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel,” said Julia Spiegel, Newsom’s assistant legal secretary.

Become an “abortion sanctuary”.

California’s new abortion laws were drafted to serve two purposes: to strengthen protections for people who want and have abortions, and to expand access to the procedure.

In the first category are laws that prevent California law enforcement agencies and private companies from cooperating with other states attempting to prosecute someone for having an abortion performed in California, and laws that also prohibit out-of-state subpoenas and requests for information about the abortion block procedures. There’s also a new law in place to protect people in the state from criminal and civil liability if they suffer a miscarriage — a direct response to a Kings County prosecutor who in recent years has prosecuted two California women for alleged drug use during pregnancy, which resulted in a stillbirth, imprisoned .

Other new state laws aim to prepare California clinics to serve thousands of patients from across the country who are already arriving from anti-abortion states — and ensure the influx doesn’t impede access by California residents.

More than $200 million in state funding has been allocated to help out-of-state people fund travel, housing and other needs, compensate doctors for performing abortions on people who cannot afford them, and Help clinics hire and train more providers.

Most of these funds have yet to be distributed. But six months after the fall, the state’s clinics continue to be inundated with patients turnip, said Dipti Singh, the Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley general counsel for Planned Parenthood, said other new state laws are already having an impact. These include: a faster and easier process for out-of-state providers to obtain a license in California and new legal protections for medical personnel performing the process.

“We were afraid that many providers would say they didn’t do abortions [on out-of-state patients] no longer because of the personal and professional risks. But we just don’t see that,” she said. “And patients continue to come everywhere because California is committed to making sure it’s a state of reproductive freedom.”

State officials, including Newsom, aren’t just preparing for traveling patients — they’re actively courting them.

In addition to paying billboards last year in South Dakota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas to promote the state as an “abortion sanctuary,” the Newsom administration launched an online tool to help people across the country to help find a California provider, make an appointment, and learn about the state’s new legal protections and financial aids.

In the four months since the site’s launch, the governor’s office told POLITICO that there have been nearly 60,000 unique visitors, and nearly 60 percent of them are from outside of California.

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