California Gets Several New Abortion Protections

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several pieces of legislation Tuesday that expand reproductive freedoms and prevent other states from interfering in abortion care provided in California.

“An alarming number of states continue to outlaw abortion and criminalize women, and it’s more important than ever to fight like hell for those who need these essential services,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

The package includes protections against being criminalized for pregnancy loss, expanded training options for nurse practitioners and midwives to perform abortions, health insurance requirements to cover some contraceptives and vasectomies without cost-sharing, and a ban on employer discrimination on the basis of reproductive health decisions.

Newsom also signed into law protections for people who travel to California for abortions because they can no longer access that care in their home state. Those measures include a ban on health care providers releasing abortion-related patient records in response to out-of-state legal actions and a ban on California law enforcement cooperating with out-of-state jurisdictions to punish anyone for coming to the state for abortion care.

“Our Legislature has been on the frontlines of this fight, and no other legislative body in the country is doing more to protect these fundamental rights,” Newsom said in his statement.

Earlier this month, the governor made a splash by using his reelection funds to buy billboard space in several Republican-led states reminding women that they “do not need to be a California resident to receive abortion services” and directing them to a state website with more information. The billboards were placed in multiple states, including Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas.

About a dozen states are enforcing highly restrictive abortion bans in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24 and letting states make their own rules on the procedure. Earlier this month, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced legislation that would ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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