Roe v. Wade overturned: What does Supreme Court decision on abortion rights mean for CA?

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Friday, June 24, 2022
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The latest Supreme Court case that overturned the constitutional right to an abortion follows decades of legal challenges.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the governors from California, Oregon and Washington announced they're banding together to defend abortion rights.

RELATED: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, transforming abortion rights in US

"SCOTUS has stripped away liberties and let other states replace them with mandated birth...this is not the America we know," they said in a video released Friday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted, "This is an attack on American freedom. CA, OR and WA are creating the West Coast offensive. A road map for other states to stand up for women. Time to fight like hell."

"I'm a little less sorry than I am pissed," he said during a press conference Friday. "Little less sorry than I am resolved and angry to do more and do better... I'm grateful I'm here in California, grateful I'm governor of California. Grateful I represent a state that's fighting for freedom, fighting for reproductive rights. A state that has long stood tall. And I'm sorry that more people do not have those protections today."

The court's decision is a win for conservatives who have fought against abortion rights with lawsuits and legislation.

Abortion bans were triggered in 18 states when the decision landed, and dozens of other states are considering 15-week bans, abortion pill bans and bans modeled after Texas' controversial law which allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps someone get an abortion after six weeks.

According to nonprofit CalMatters, "California has firmly bucked the trend. A constitutional amendment prohibiting the state from denying or interfering with abortions is well on its way to the November ballot, where voters will decide on the measure. And a package of 13 bills aimed at removing barriers and protecting patients by strengthening privacy protections, ensuring providers and patients cannot be sued or prosecuted and funding procedures and travel costs has sailed through the Legislature with little opposition."

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Abortion Rights on the Ballot

Earlier this month, Newsom issued a statement introducing SCA 10 in the California State Senate, a measure that would place a constitutional amendment enshrining the right to abortion on the November ballot:

"California will not sit on the sidelines as unprecedented attacks on the fundamental right to choose endanger women across the country. This measure will ensure that women in our state have an inviolable right to a safe and legal abortion that is protected in our constitution. I thank Senate President pro Tempore Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon for their leadership and look forward to our continued partnership to advance California's nation-leading commitment to protecting and strengthening access to reproductive health care services in our state."

If voters approve this, it would enshrine "reproductive freedom" in the state Constitution.

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Legal Support for Providers

According to CalMatters, the governor convened the Future of Abortion Council, a coalition of reproductive rights, health and justice groups, to explore how to make the state a "sanctuary" for abortion. Its recommendations, released in December, formed the basis for a sweeping package of more than a dozen bills currently moving through the Legislature.

How Many Abortions are Performed in California?

According to the Guttmacher Institute: 132,680 abortions were provided in California in 2017, though not all of them were provided to state residents. Some patients may have traveled from other states, and some California residents may have traveled to another state for an abortion.

There was a 16% decline in the abortion rate in California between 2014 and 2017, from 19.5 to 16.4 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age.

Abortions in California represent 15.4% of all abortions in the United States.

Who Pays for California Abortions?

According to CalMatters, starting in 2023, all abortion-related related services, including consultations and follow-up care, will be free in California.

A new law prohibits insurance companies from imposing deductibles and co-payments on anyone seeking an abortion.

The current average out-of-pocket cost is $306 for a medication abortion and $887 for a procedural abortion, according to the California Health Benefits Review program.

Medi-Cal funds the cost of abortion services with state money because, due to the Hyde Amendment, the federal government prohibits most federal spending on abortion.

California is one of 16 states to pay for abortions, and does so under court order.

RELATED: 5 myths about abortion debunked as Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

What's Being Done in the Bay Area?

Bay Area officials are preparing for the potential influx of people coming from out-of-state for abortion services they can't get back home.

"If California- along with other states- needs to be a safe haven for women, I'm glad we can do that," Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez told ABC7 News

The county Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to direct $3 million in funding to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. It's described as the largest of its affiliates in the country.

If approved in June, the money would go to medical equipment, center expansion, additional staffing, and more. The improvements are meant to better serve residents and women traveling here to terminate their pregnancies and legally protect the doctors who treat them.

"Reproductive healthcare is healthcare," says Anna Roth, the Contra Costa County Health Director.

She says this may be a very confusing time for many regarding federal versus state laws, but she wants to make sure people understand that they still have access to healthcare in the Bay Area, and in Contra Costa County specifically.

"We have sent out an advisory to all providers across our county to ensure we have unimpeded access to the care needed, specially abortion services," says Roth.

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