California plans to be abortion ‘sanctuary’ if Roe v. Wade is overturned

California abortion clinics and their supporters in the state Legislature revealed a plan on Wednesday to make the state a “sanctuary” for those seeking an abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The measure included possibly paying for travel, lodging, and procedures for people coming in from other states.

The California Future of Abortion Council, which is composed of over 40 abortion providers and advocacy groups, turned over a list of 45 recommendations for the state to consider in the event that Roe v. Wade is scrapped. The 48-year-old ruling prevented states from outlawing abortion or putting such restrictions on the practice as to place an “undue burden” on the process. 

Democratic governor of the state, Gavin Newsom, started the group himself. He said in an interview last week that some of the report’s details will be a part of his budget proposal in January.

“We’ll be a sanctuary,” Newsom noted, adding that he knows patients will probably travel to California to seek an abortion. “We are looking at ways to support that inevitability and looking at ways to expand our protections.”

The state already pays for abortions for a large number of low-income residents through its Medicaid program. The number of people who would travel to California in order to get an abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned is unknown. California also does not collect or report on their abortion statistics.

One research group that supports abortion rights, the Guttmacher Institute, said that 132,680 abortions were performed in California in the year 2017, which would account for 15 percent of the national number of abortions. That figure includes people from other states as well as teenagers, who do not need parental consent for an abortion in California.

The report given to the Legislature has asked lawmakers to help clinics up their workforce in preparation for more patients by giving scholarships to medical school students who promise to offer abortion services in rural areas, as well as assist with paying off their student loans and with their monthly liability insurance premiums.

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