Is CA ready to be a reproductive care sanctuary?

CA already had a list of bills to pass. We’re wondering if they are strong enough.

  • UPDATE: “May 5 (Reuters) – Louisiana lawmakers have advanced a bill that would abolish abortion in the state, grant constitutional rights to “all unborn children from the moment of fertilization” and classify abortion as a homicide crime.
  • UPDATE: “As Idahoans plan for a future without abortion rights, a leading Republican in the Idaho House would support holding hearings on legislation banning abortion pills and morning-after pills.

Our “Deeper Dive” section below discusses the eugenics movement that’s always been behind the eyes of GOP believers. We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed.
Hint: The forced-birther movement was never about religion. It was never about babies.

Action #1: Email your assemblymember and state senator to support our sanctuary bills.

Sample email script to legislators: I’m writing because I want Asm./Sen. [___] to vote to pass every one of the 13 remaining bills advanced by Gov. Newsom and the CA Future of Abortion Council to protect those seeking reproductive sanctuary and equity in our state. I’m appalled that a bill like AB-2223, which protects California’s women who experience pregnancy loss, wasn’t passed years ago. However, I’m concerned we may have left off some important protections.

Although AB 1666 focuses on civil liability judgements, if Roe v Wade falls, 26 states will rapidly increase criminalization of abortion, stillbirth and miscarriages. I want to CA to have protections similar to Connecticut’s HB-5414. Their bill offers protection against:

  • CRIMINAL prosecution by those states who will use “fetal personhood” to press charges of homicide. It bars extradition by CT’s governor and cooperation with the pursuing state’s investigation or prosecution.
  • Abusive civil lawsuits by bounty hunters. It allows those targeted to countersue for full damages, and attorneys’ fees in CT state court.

We had hoped that none of these measures would be necessary, but Texas legislators are threatening women with execution if Roe falls, and Louisiana just advanced a bill that classifies abortion as homicide and which, if passed, they intend to enforce, no matter what SCOTUS decides.

Action #2: Email the governor. Thank him and ask him if we can do more.

Minimal email to Governor Newsom: First, I want the Governor Newsom to know how much I appreciate his preparations for our state to become a reproductive sanctuary if our extremist Supreme Court dismembers Roe v. Wade in June.

However, I’m concerned we may have left off some important protections in the 13 bills currently before the legislature. Before Roe, women were rarely prosecuted, but states are rapidly increasing criminalization of abortion, stillbirth and miscarriages.

While our AB 1666 focuses on civil liability issues, Connecticut’s HB-5414 offers an example of stronger protection against CRIMINAL prosecution by those states who may use “fetal personhood” to redefine abortion as homicide. Their bill offers protection against:

  • CRIMINAL prosecution by those states who will use “fetal personhood” to press charges of homicide. It bars extradition by CT’s governor and cooperation with the pursuing state’s investigation or prosecution.
  • Abusive civil lawsuits by bounty hunters. It allows those targeted to countersue for full damages, and attorneys’ fees in CT state court.

We had hoped that none of these measures would be necessary, but Texas legislators are threatening women with execution if Roe falls, and Louisiana just advanced a bill that classifies abortion as homicide and which, if passed, they intend to enforce, no matter what SCOTUS decides.

Contacts

  • Governor Gavin Newsom: email, (916) 445-2841 
  • State Senator Monique Limón (SD-19): email, SAC (916) 651-4019, SB (805) 965-0862, OX (805)988-1940 
  • State Senator Henry Stern (SD-27): email, SAC (916) 651-2027, Calabasas (818) 876-3352
  • State Assemblymember Steve Bennett: (CA-37): email, SAC (916) 319-2037, SB (805) 564-1649, VTA (805) 641-3700
  • State Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin: (CA-44): email, SAC (916) 319-2044, CAM (805) 482-1904, OX (805) 483-4488
  • Not your people? Which assemblymember/state senator is mine?: findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.

Deeper Dive – How White Supremacy effects reproductive justice and how CA needs to clean it’s own house and be ready to help.

The Supreme Court is expected to use Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks as a lever to overturn Roe v. Wade altogether in June, triggering near or complete bans on abortion in about half of the states. Many have already thrown off their charade of only prosecuting reproductive service providers, as in pre-Roe times, and will use “fetal personhood” to go after women directly with long sentences. Texas legislators have gone further, of course, openly discussing sentencing women who’ve received abortions to the death penalty.

As GOP messaging is often exactly opposite of their intent, we listened when they invoked the horrors of eugenics to shame women who terminate severely compromised fetuses in a country that offers little support for poor kids with disabilities. The GOP’s White Supremacists who drove the “War on Drugs” to remove large numbers of young Black men from society are now hiding behind the rhetoric of the religious extremists who keep them in office – a movement that targets young, poor, Black and Brown women – those least able to reach accessible and safe reproductive services and effective legal counsel, with surgical precision. Their increasing hypercriminalization of abortion, stillbirth and miscarriages, the results of which they intend to spike by defunding birth control as they did abortion itself with the Hyde amendment, is just a different version of their duplicitous 1950’s-60’s era “family planning” initiatives emphasizing sterilization and contraceptives to women of color, both campaigns being defacto and effective forms of eugenics.

Even with Roe, there have been more than 1,200 documented cases of women, disproportionately Black and working-class women, who have been arrested because of their pregnancy outcomes since 1973. If states adopt fetal personhood laws, punishments will grow exponentially in number and severity.

(Slate) A report by the National Advocates for Pregnant Women and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers found that there are “more than 4,450 crimes in the federal criminal code, tens of thousands of state criminal provisions—including criminal abortion laws—still on the books, as well as state conspiracy, attempt, and accomplice statutes that could subject a wide range of individuals to criminal penalties if Roe is overturned.” Even criminal laws that have absolutely nothing to do with abortion on their face—including prohibitions on possession of a “dangerous drug” —can be, and have been, used by zealous prosecutors to punish abortion patients.

This type of harrassment even happens in CA, which is why AB-2223, which will ensure that women who end a pregnancy or experience pregnancy loss will not be investigated, prosecuted or incarcerated, is now up for a vote in our legislature. (Fact-check on the bill.) Women in this vulnerable group will think twice before seeking medical assistance for pregnancy complications, with the potential of fatal consequences already confirmed by women in other countries that oppress poor women’s rights to bodily sovereignty.

Meanwhile, CA is getting ready to become a sanctuary. Reproductive service providers are building new facilities closer to transit hubs and hiring additional staff, and in 2021, Governor Newsom convened the California Future of Abortion Council, where more than 40 researchers, abortion providers, advocacy groups and legislators made 45 recommendations, which were distilled into 14 bills that reduce cost barriers, shore up the reproductive health care workforce, and protect patients and providers from civil liability. One has been passed already – SB-245, which eliminates out-of-pocket costs for abortion, like copays.

However, after reading through the list of bills (below) we wonder if there is room for improvement.

  • SB-245(Already signed into law!) Eliminates out-of-pocket abortion costs like co-pays
  • SB-1142(In Senate) Creates “The Abortion Support Fund” to provide financial assistance for abortion patients for things like travel and lodging
  • SB-1245(In Senate) Creates a reproductive health pilot project in Los Angeles County
  • SB-1375(In Senate)Allows nurse-practitioners with certain training requirements to perform first trimester abortion independent of physician oversight
  • AB-1666(In Assembly) Protects patients and providers from civil liability judgments in cases where claims are based on laws in other states that are contrary to California abortion policy
  • AB-1918(In Assembly) Creates the California Reproductive Health Scholarship Corps to recruit and train diverse health care workers to provide reproductive services in underserved areas of the state
  • AB-2091(In Assembly) Enhances privacy protections for medical records related to abortion against disclosures to law enforcement and out-of-state third parties
  • AB-2134(In Assembly) Establishes the California Reproductive Health Equity Program to give abortion providers grants for uncompensated care to low-income patients
  • AB-2205(In Assembly) Ensures better tracking of abortion claims payments for qualified health plans under Covered California
  • AB-2223(In Assembly) Ensures Californians who end a pregnancy or experience pregnancy loss will not be investigated, prosecuted or incarcerated
  • AB-2320(In Assembly) Establishes a pilot program to direct funds to community health clinics in five counties that provide reproductive health services and requires clinics to improve care for marginalized patients
  • AB-2529(In Assembly) Adds certified nurse-midwives and licensed midwives to the Song-Brown Workforce Training Act that provides grants for professional health care training programs
  • AB-2586(In Assembly) Establishes a workgroup to examine the cause of reproductive health inequities. Establishes the California Reproductive Justice Freedom Fund to support community-based organizations to provide comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education
  • AB-2626(In Assembly) Prohibits suspension or removal of medical licenses for abortion providers complying with California law

Reading/Resources

  • (CalMatters) ‘When you don’t know where to go, you come here:’ California preps to be a haven for abortion rights
  • (CalMatters) How California created the nation’s easiest abortion access — and why it’s poised to go further
  • (Slate) Only One Blue State Is Fully Preparing for the Next Phase of the Abortion Wars – Republican legislators are already plotting to punish reproductive health providers across state lines. Connecticut has a plan to fight back.
  • (CNN) Can red states regulate abortions performed outside their borders? A post-Roe landscape would test just that
  • (ACLU) WHAT’S WRONG WITH FETAL RIGHTS
  • (Connecticut H.B.-5414) “An Act Concerning The Provision Of Protections For Persons Receiving And Providing Reproductive Health Care Services In The State And Access To Reproductive Health Care Services In The State.”
  • (Equal Times) Anti-abortion laws: a war against poor women
  • (BBC) US women are being jailed for having miscarriages
  • (theNation) Republicans Are Using Fear of Eugenics to Attack Reproductive Rights
  • (social sciences ) The New Eugenics: Black Hyper-Incarceration and Human Abatement
  • (Msmagazine) Are Women Human Beings? Sometime soon, the U.S. Supreme Court could decide a fertilized egg is a person—opening the door to sweeping abortion restrictions across the country.
  • (slate) Ending Roe Could Send More Women to Prison for Miscarrying
  • (nacdl.org) The Overcriminalization of Abortion
  • (nacdl.org) Abortion in America: How Legislative Overreach Is Turning Reproductive Rights Into Criminal Wrongs
  • (theguardian) What will US’s future look like if abortion becomes a crime again?
  • (WaPo) If abortions become illegal, here’s how the government will prosecute women who have them. Conservatives say they would punish only doctors. With new medicines, there are none.
  • (19thnews.org) Criminal convictions for abortion, miscarriage? Texas abortion ban previews life without Roe v. Wade. Defense attorneys say there’s a history of criminal convictions over abortion, miscarriage and stillbirth that will only be exacerbated if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
  • (mercurynews) Opinion: ‘Above-ground-railroad’ for abortion has already begun. California’s leadership and status as a reproductive-freedom state has never been more important
  • (newsweek) Death Penalty for Abortions Becomes Pivotal Issue in GOP Runoff in Texas
  • (www.law.berkeley.edu) The color of Choice: White Supremacy and Reproductive Justice.
  • (jezebel) Planned Parenthood Has Quietly Stopped Providing Abortions in Georgia and Alabama – Independent clinics have been “deeply impacted” by the move in a region with already dwindling access to reproductive health care.
  • (slate) We’re not going back to “Before Roe.” We’re headed somewhere worse.
  • (jezebel) Abortion rights, White Supremacy and the Great Replacement Theory

Quote in graphic from (mercurynews)

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