SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California leaders are moving forward with efforts to increase abortion access in the state.
State officials expect a surge of out-of-state abortion patients if the Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe v. Wade. Part of the action at the State Capitol on Monday aims to help, but Republicans continue to say California has bigger issues to worry about.
The state Senate Appropriations Committee moved forward with a bill that would set up a fund to help low-income people access abortion in California.
Senate Bill 1142 would also require the state’s Health and Human Services agency to set up a website with information on abortion services in the state. It’s one of more than a dozen bills aiming to boost abortion access and protections in California.
“As a father of two daughters, this is important. We need to make California continue to be a pro-choice state,” said state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge.
The committee put the bill on the suspense file for later consideration. The suspense file is reserved for bills that could cost the state more than $50,000 from the general fund or $150,000 from special funds. The committee analysis of the bill shows it could cost in the low millions of dollars.
Democrats who wrote the bill said it’s worth it.
“That California resident who has to travel a day, maybe has to leave her kids at home, she may not have the money to afford childcare or take the day off of work. So, we want to make sure we can provide for that, and we may have some other people that come to the state, and we need to provide for that too,” said state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.
Opponents argue the money would not be extended to low-income women who want childbirth. Some raised concerns about allowing people from out of state to access the funds.
“It will create a huge national abortion trafficking system open to widespread abuse and fraud,” said Susan Arnall, of the Right to Life League.
As early voting begins for the California primary election, expanding and protecting access to abortion is a campaign platform for Democrats determined to hold onto their offices this year.
That includes Attorney General Rob Bonta and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“It’s just totally political,” said Assembly Member Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin.
Republican congressional candidate and current state Assemblyman Kiley said Democrats are using abortion as a distraction from California’s major issues.
“I think people are fundamentally going to vote upon the issues that are important to them based on their own lives. At the end of the day, I think it’s unfortunate they’re trying to use this issue for such transparently political purposes,” Kiley said.
The California Primary is June 7. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to work on their proposed constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights in the state, which they also hope to present to voters in the November election.