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Why overturning Roe v. Wade won't change abortion laws in California

Abortion Kentucky
Posted at 7:19 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 14:30:07-04

KERO-TV  — The U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade Friday, essentially eradicating the right to an abortion at the federal level.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to see changes here at home.

"I think it’s clear to the fact that California is not going to be passing any kinds of laws that are going to restrict access to abortion care or reproductive rights," said political analyst Ivy Cargile.

It’s the opposite, really. Right now in California, the right to an abortion is guaranteed in statute and the state constitution.

If the fetus can not survive outside the womb, a pregnant person can get an abortion for any reason. Once a fetus can survive outside the womb, a person can get an abortion if continuing the pregnancy threatens their life or health.

The cost of abortion is covered for lower-income Californians on Medi-Cal, and private insurance is required to cover it.

Waiting periods and parental consent are not required, and while medical professionals can refuse to perform an abortion, the patient can then ask for another provider.

Only religious non-profit hospitals and clinics can have blanket bans, and it doesn’t stop there.

Cargile said Governor Gavin Newsom is currently working with state legislature to create better infrastructure when it comes to accessing abortions in California.

"So that people here within the state as well as people who are coming from other more restrictive states have the access that they need, [California] is [trying] to become one of those states where the access to this vital healthcare is available to everyone that needs it," she said.

In 1969, four years before Roe v. Wade, California recognized the right to procreative choice under the state constitution. It was amended to include an explicit protection for privacy, which has been interpreted as protecting the right to abortions.

After the Supreme Court draft opinion leak in May, Gov. Newsom announced SCA 10, which would make abortion an explicit, fundamental right under the state constitution.

The amendment needs a 2/3 majority vote of both the senate and assembly by June 30 to be placed on the November 2022 ballot.

"The laws here will protect reproductive rights, reproductive freedoms. We're mindful that people will travel across this country from those states that have triggers that will move in a completely different direction 25, 26 or so states, and we are looking at ways to support that inevitability, and looking at ways to expand our protections legally and otherwise," said Newsom in a previous press conference.

Meanwhile, in January, Congressman Kevin McCarthy released a statement saying in part:

America was founded on the proposition that all men are created equal. Not born equal. Created equal. Unborn children deserve equal protection under the law. [Our] work is far from done, but we will always fight to save as many children as possible.”

The California Legislative Women's Caucus has also introduced a 13-bill package to make abortion even more accessible while further protecting patient and provider rights.

"The idea is really to enshrine within California law [that] people will be taken care of in the state," said Cargile.

Cargile said we should know more on if these bills will pass by the fall.

Meanwhile, the 2022-2023 state budget proposals currently being negotiated by the legislature and Gov. Newsom also prioritize more than $125 million for a range of reproductive health allocations.

"The executive branch and the legislative branch of the state are working together in order to ensure that there is more funding than has been allocated in the past for purposes of making sure that the clinics that are already there have all the resources that they need," said Cargile.

Starting in 2023, all abortion-related services in California will be free. A new law prohibits insurance companies from imposing deductibles, co-payments or other cost-sharing upon an individual seeking an abortion.

Cargile said this decision will shape the way some politicians campaign leading up to the elections in November and could change voters’ minds when it comes to key positions.

23ABC will continue to bring you coverage as we near November.