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What would be the impact on California if Roe v. Wade is overturned?

Posted: 5:33 PM, May 03, 2022
Updated: 2022-05-03 23:10:22-04
Supreme Court Abortion Texas

(KERO) — You may be wondering if Roe v. Wade is overturned what will this mean for women in California? Will a decision change abortion laws in California?

The short answer is "no." In fact, abortion protection laws in California may even expand if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

California and at least 15 other states, as well as Washington, D.C., have laws on the books that would keep abortion legal, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

  • 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws that protect the right to abortion.  
    • 4 states and the District of Columbia have codified the right to abortion throughout pregnancy without state interference.
    • 12 states explicitly permit abortion prior to viability or when necessary to protect the life or health of the pregnant person.

"Bans enacted after Roe are designed to be “triggered” and take effect automatically or by swift state action if Roe is overturned. Several states even have laws declaring the state’s intent to ban abortion to whatever extent is permitted by the U.S. Constitution, making their desire to halt abortion access in the state clear. A few states have amended their constitution to declare that it does not contain any protection for abortion rights or allow public funds to be used for abortion," explains the Guttmacher Institute.

  • 23 states have laws that could be used to restrict the legal status of abortion.
    • 9 states retain their unenforced, pre-Roe abortion bans.
    • 13 states have post-Roe laws to ban all or nearly all abortions that would be triggered if Roe were overturned.  
    • 9 states have unconstitutional post-Roe restrictions that are currently blocked by courts but could be brought back into effect with a court order in Roe’s absence.
    • 7 states have laws that express the intent to restrict the right to legal abortion to the maximum extent permitted by the U.S. Supreme Court in the absence of Roe.
    • 4 states have passed a constitutional amendment explicitly declaring that their constitution does not secure or protect the right to abortion or allow use of public funds for abortion.

A reversal of Roe could drive up the number of women from out of state whose nearest abortion provider would be in California. Some experts predict nearly 1.4 million women would come out of state to California for an abortion.

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a new law to make abortions cheaper for people on private insurance plans. The law Newsom signed Tuesday eliminates things like co-pays and deductibles for abortions.

“As states across the country attempt to move us backwards by restricting fundamental reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all,” said Governor Newsom. “With this legislation, we’ll help ensure equitable, affordable access to abortion services so that out-of-pocket costs don’t stand in the way of receiving care.”

In addition, Newsom, along with Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, plan to propose an amendment in its state constitution to ensure permanent abortion protection.

“We know we can’t trust the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, so California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution. Women will remain protected here,” the lawmakers wrote in a statement.

A supermajority vote in both of the state’s legislative houses would be required before the constitutional amendment can make its way to the November ballot.

Newsom released the following statement after the draft decision was released: “This draft opinion is an appalling attack on the rights of women across this country and if it stands, it will destroy lives and put countless women in danger. It will be the end of fundamental constitutional rights that American women have had for nearly 50 years.

“This is not an isolated incident, and it is not the end. We have a Supreme Court that does not value the rights of women, and a political minority that will stop at nothing to take those rights away. This won’t stop with choice and the right to privacy. They are undermining progress, and erasing the civil protections and rights so many have fought for over the last half century.

“I’m furious that my own daughters and sons could grow up in an America that is less free than the one they were born into. We have to wake up. We have to fight like hell. We will not be silenced.”