California bill to help Arizona abortion seekers heads to Newsom

A California bill that aims to help Arizonans seeking an abortion is back on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) desk, just about a month after he introduced the legislation.

The bill, Senate Bill 233, allows Arizona abortion providers to be quickly approved for work in California and is in response to the Arizona Supreme Court’s near-total abortion ban, which has since been repealed.

Newsom introduced the bill, criticizing Arizona’s state Republican lawmakers who shot down initial attempts to repeal the abortion law, which is from 1864. His office said it was “emergency legislation” and was sparked by a call to action by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D).

The legislation allows doctors in Arizona to gain authorization to operate across the border in the neighboring state. The state Senate held a vote of 30-8 on Tuesday after it passed the state Assembly, Politico first reported.

Newsom, who is on a trip to the Vatican, is expected to sign it upon his return.

When introducing the bill, the governor’s office said the bill is a “valuable stopgap” that would “full a critical gap for care during a meaningful period of time” since the Arizona ban may still be in place for weeks or months due to legislative processes.

Planned Parenthood of California pushed back on the idea that the state will need additional resources to handle out-of-state abortion services as other states enact restrictive policies.

In a statement to Politico, the organization said it’s been preparing for and already absorbing new patients for several years, but also welcomes any additional state aid.

Newsom’s office said the bill is in the enrollment process and they expect the governor to “swiftly sign the legislation once it reaches his desk.”

Updated at 6:00 pm.

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