(The Center Square) – California could spend public funds to help low-income Californians and out-of-state residents access abortion under a new proposal introduced by lawmakers in state this week.
Senate Bill 1142, presented Thursday by the senses. Nancy Skinner and Anna Caballero, would create a fund within the state treasury to provide grants to nonprofit organizations that help low-income pregnant women or those facing financial barriers to access abortion services. The fund would be made up of state and philanthropic dollars, according to Skinner.
The annual cost to the state would be for the legislature to appropriate.
Supporters said the measure would help increase access to abortions in California for women when several states pass laws to increase abortion restrictions.
In September, the Supreme Court refused to block a Texas abortion law that bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks into pregnancy. This contrasts with Roe vs. Wadethe landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion before viability, around 24 weeks into pregnancy.
Additionally, the High Court must rule on a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Lawyers and lawmakers say it could effectively overturn Roe v. Wade and estimate that if this law is confirmed, more than two dozen states are likely to adopt similar restrictions on abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“The conservative majority on the United States Supreme Court seems poised to do the unthinkable. If the court strikes down 50 years of established law and removes a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, California will not sit idly by,” Skinner, vice chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, said in a statement.
“With SB 1142, California is sending a clear message to the rest of the nation: We are fully committed to ensuring that Californian women and those who may seek refuge here have access to all reproductive services, including abortion. “
The bill would also create a website through the state Health and Human Services Agency where the public can access information about abortion services in California.
The legislation is part of a bundle of bills to expand access to abortion, which members of the Women’s Legislative Caucus announced in January. It also stems from a report published by the California Future of Abortion Council in December, which recommended, among other things, that California reimburse abortion providers for services provided to people who have no other means of paying for care.
Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the legislation would help “remove barriers” to abortion access and provide resources to out-of-state patients who might otherwise lose access. .
“Planned Parenthood is proud to support SB 1142 because the doors of health centers are open to any patient who needs services, and we want to make sure those patients are supported through the process and can easily access the information they need. they need it, when they need it,” Hicks mentioned.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Health Committee and is expected to be heard in the coming weeks, according to Skinner’s office.