January 20, 2022
Brandon Richards, Director of Communications
Roe v Wade Resolutions Pass Senate & Assembly; Bill (SB 245) Reducing Barriers to Abortion for Californians Makes Progress
SACRAMENTO— Just days from the 49th Anniversary of Roe v Wade, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) joined the Legislative Women’s Caucus today at the Capitol to honor the milestone and recognize the work that needs to be done to protect and expand access to abortion amid growing threats.
Democratic members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus held a press conference on the steps of the Capitol to introduce legislative proposals they will prioritize this session to continue California on the path toward Reproductive Freedom. This announcement coincides with the California Assembly and Senate adopting two resolutions marking the 49th anniversary of Roe v Wade – the Supreme Court case establishing the constitutional right to abortion – happening this Saturday, January 22. In addition, the California Assembly Committee on Appropriations heard SB 245, legislation that makes abortion care more affordable and accessible.
“While there is a lot to be dismayed about around abortion, despite approaching the 49th anniversary of Roe, today offers hope for Californians and everyone who may be forced to seek abortion care in California due to extreme restrictions in their own state,” said Jodi Hicks, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “The leadership of the Legislative Women’s Caucus is precisely what Californians are looking for in their elected officials. We look forward to continuing this critical work with policymakers in the coming weeks and months, using the California Future of Abortion Council report as a blueprint to build upon California’s national leadership as a Reproductive Freedom state and ensure we continue to break down barriers for those who live here, as well as be a beacon and haven for people across the country.”
The legislative proposals announced at the press conference include civil and criminal protections for patients and providers, practical support and funding, increased accessibility and education on abortion care services and support available in California, protecting medical privacy, among many other ideas discussed. In addition to announcing these priority proposals, the California Assembly and Sente adopted resolutions HR 78 and SR 63 – spearheaded by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Senator Nancy Skinner – to mark the anniversary of Roe v Wade.
“As we recognize the importance of the legal protections the Supreme Court established for abortion, we must also acknowledge that for many people, abortion access is already out of reach despite the right to safe, legal abortion. The same is true even in California,” continued Hicks. “The fight should be focused on expanding access, yet we have never been closer to losing a constitutional right than we are right now.”
Finally, the California Assembly Committee on Appropriations heard SB 245 (Gonzalez), legislation that reduces barriers to abortion care by removing cost-sharing for Californians seeking abortion services. SB 245 now moves to the Assembly Floor and one step closer to the Governor’s desk.
“This legislation, championed by Senator Gonzalez, is crucial to decreasing barriers to abortion care for Californians,” said Hicks. “The California Future of Abortion Council called for swift action on this legislation, and it is heartening to see the report’s recommendations being acted upon quickly and efficiently. These next few months are an all-hands-on-deck moment, and we are grateful here in California to have so many hands willing to help – from Governor Newsom and legislators to county and city leaders. California is all-in in the fight for reproductive freedom.”
Last year was the worst year for abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and 2022 is shaping up to be the most consequential year since 1973 – when Roe v Wade was decided. Not only is the U.S. Supreme Court hearing Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the court case directly challenging Roe v Wade – but Texas’ extreme, dangerous, and unconstitutional ‘vigilante’ style law (known as S.B. 8) that allows strangers to sue anyone who aids a person in getting an abortion past the six-week mark has been allowed to remain in effect since September 1, 2021, while the legal battle continues. Many states throughout the country are now considering similar laws, including neighboring Arizona.
Extreme and dangerous abortion restrictions in other states continue to have an impact on California and Californians access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion. In the days and weeks that followed, Planned Parenthood health centers across California saw patients seeking services in California from Texas and states bordering Texas. As more states move to restrict access to abortion, California policymakers must take swift action throughout the 2022 legislative session to ensure there are as few delays to care as possible for Californians, as well as those seeking care here. It is not just the right thing to do, but Californians want action from their elected officials.
In response to the impact on California, the California Future of Abortion Council (CA FAB Council) – which Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California is a leading member of – released a report outlining 45 recommendations for California policymakers to guide their efforts to increase access to abortion care, both for Californians and those seeking care in California – regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court decides later this year. Many of the legislative proposals put forth by the Legislative Women’s Caucus today stem from the CA FAB Council’s report. Read the full report here.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) is the state public policy office representing California’s seven separately incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates. Through advocacy and electoral action, PPAC promotes sound public policy in areas of sexual and reproductive health care and sex education.