Wednesday, December 8, 2021
45 Recommendations Provide Blueprint for California Policymakers to Prepare State as Threat to Abortion Rights and Access Increases
SACRAMENTO — The California Future of Abortion Council (CA FAB Council), comprised of more than 40 organizations across California, released a new report highlighting key policy recommendations state leaders and lawmakers can take to increase access to safe, equitable and affordable abortion care.
The CA FAB Council was created in September 2021 by ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Essential Access Health, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Health Law Program, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California with support from Governor Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), and Attorney General Rob Bonta.
“When I ran clinic services for a women's health center, I saw countless individuals who needed information, services, and support,” said Senator Toni Atkins, President pro Tempore. “Working with the FAB Council, my colleagues and I will ensure Californians and people from every state can get the reproductive health services they need in a safe and timely way—and that all our rights remain enshrined in law. This is crunch time, but we will not be dragged into the past. California will keep leading for the future.”
The new report includes 45 policy recommendations across seven focus areas that are intended to be used in California, and as a blueprint for other state legislatures looking to protect and expand access to abortion, countering the efforts by extreme politicians in many states to ban and restrict abortion care. The focus areas include:
- Investment in abortion funds, direct practical support, and infrastructure to support patients seeking abortion care.
- Reimbursement for abortion and abortion-related services.
- Investment in a diverse California abortion provider workforce and an increase in training opportunities for BIPOC and others historically excluded from health care professions.
- Reduction of administrative and institutional barriers to care.
- Legal protections for abortion patients, providers, and supporting organizations and individuals.
- Address misinformation and disinformation and ensure access to medically accurate, culturally relevant, and inclusive education about abortion and access to care is widely and equitably available.
- Efforts to collect data, conduct research, and distribute reports to assess and inform abortion care and education needs in California.
CA FAB Council members will work with state leaders to take action and ensure policy recommendations outlined in the report are advanced and implemented successfully. Read the full report here.
According to a Guttmacher Institute report, 2021 has been the worst year for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. In fact, more than 106 abortion restrictions have been enacted in 19 states, including 12 bans on abortion. Another report by the Guttmacher Institute shows that, if there was a total ban on abortion in the 26 states that are expected to ban abortion should Roe fall, the number of out-of-state women of reproductive age who would find their next nearest clinic in California would increase from a previous 46,000 to 1.4 million, with 1.3 million of these people residing in Arizona.
Quotes from CA Future of Abortion Council Leaders
ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE Executive Director Jessica Pinckney said:
“ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE has been honored to participate in the California Future of Abortion Council, leading the work to ensure that practical supports such as transportation, lodging, childcare, and other emotional and financial support are prioritized as we further strengthen access to abortion in California and prepare for an influx of patients from other states. Abortion funds and practical support organizations have long supported individuals in transportation to and from their appointments or money for gas, lodging for overnight stays, support with childcare, among other supports, however, the unmet need far exceeds what we are able to support. The policy recommendations made in the FAB Council report are integral to filling the gaps in abortion access that exist for Californians and those in our sibling states.”
Black Women for Wellness Action Project Policy Analyst Onyenma Obiekea said:
“Abortion care is an essential component of reproductive justice, which is only realized when people have tangible access to care. Black Women for Wellness Action Project is committed to fighting for a world in which individuals are truly free to determine if, when and how to have a family. Centered in these values we are proud to participate as one of the co-conveners of the CA FAB Council. This set of recommendations represents California's commitment to exploring innovative strategies and implementing policy solutions that ensures that everyone can enjoy the full scope of their reproductive rights.”
Essential Health Access Chief External Affairs Officer Amy Moy said:
“Abortion is essential health care. It’s outrageous that in 2021, the fundamental and constitutional right to make personal decisions about pregnancy is up for debate. California has a wide range of legal protections on the books, but abortion access continues to be out of reach for people with lower-incomes and individuals living in rural regions. These inequities can no longer be tolerated. As a majority of Supreme Court Justices appear ready to undermine the bodily autonomy of millions and allow extreme abortion restrictions to stand, California can and must go further and do more to ensure that anyone seeking abortion services within our borders can get the care they want, when and where they need it.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America Vice President of Communications & Research Kristin Ford said:
“Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that puts Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion at risk. This case comes as states across the country are attacking access at every turn. If Roe is overturned and the 26 states expected to ban abortion access do so, California will become one of the few places where people can access the abortion care they need. We must be ready to meet this moment so California can continue to be a Reproductive Freedom State for everybody. NARAL Pro-Choice California is proud to be a member of the California Future of Abortion Council, and to champion these policy recommendations to ensure every person who needs abortion care in California can access it.”
National Health Law Program Director of Reproductive and Sexual Health Fabiola Carrion said:
“As the future of abortion rights and access hangs in the balance, the National Health Law Program is proud to be part of the California Future of Abortion Council. An organization that defends health care rights for low-income and underserved individuals and communities, NHeLP reiterates that abortion is health care. With the creation of the FAB Council, California is working towards a future where abortion isn’t just legal – but also accessible, affordable, and supported for anyone who steps foot in our state. Lack of abortion access hardest on Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, young people, immigrants, and those having difficulty making ends meet. The fundamental right to make decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures is essential to the pursuit of health equity and racial, reproductive, and economic justice. We are ready to work with our state policy makers to meet this crucial moment in our nation’s history.”
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President and CEO Jodi Hicks said:
“Planned Parenthood health centers throughout California have already been feeling the impact of restrictive abortion laws — serving 7,000 out-of-state people in the prior year as well as seeing patients from Texas in the weeks after Senate Bill 8 went into effect. There is no question these recommendations are what we need to best prepare the state and health centers for the dramatic increase our state could see should Roe v Wade be overturned by the Supreme Court.”
“We hope the hard work done by 40+ organizations to put this report together will drive California lawmakers into action in the coming months to build upon our state’s status as a Reproductive Freedom state. We cannot wait and risk delayed care for people within California and for those who come here for care. This report provides the blueprint for bold solutions and bold action to ensure abortion is available, affordable, and accessible for anyone who needs it.”
Training in Early Abortion for Comprehensive Healthcare (TEACH) Executive Director Flor Hunt said:
“We are in an unprecedented time, where the fundamental right to bodily autonomy is under review, and where much of the country is poised to take a giant 50-year step back. As one of the many organizations working to protect critical access to abortion for all who need it, TEACH is proud to be part of this powerful and proactive effort to ensure that everyone in California has access to skilled, non-judgmental and compassionate abortion care. In these fraught times, it is imperative that we take the lead and provide a shining example of what it means to protect the reproductive freedom of all.”
The following organizations participated in and support the work of the CA FAB Council: ACLU Northern California; ACLU Southern California; ACLU California Action; Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH); Advocates for Youth; All* Above All; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District IX; California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom; California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls; California Nurse Midwives Association; California Latinas for Reproductive Justice; California Medical Association; California Women’s Health Specialists; Coalition Abortion Alliance; FPA Women’s Health; Hollywood NOW; If/When/Now: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice; MYA Network; Office of Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan; Office of the Governor of California Gavin Newsom; Office of the Senate President pro Tempore Senator Toni G. Atkins; Plan C Pills; Planned Parenthood California Central Coast; Planned Parenthood Los Angeles; Planned Parenthood Mar Monte; Planned Parenthood of Northern California; Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernardino Counties; Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest; Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley; The Feminist Women’s Health Centers of California; UC Davis Health; UCLA Law Center on Reproductive Health, Law and Policy; UCSF Abortion Care Training Incubator for Outstanding Nurse Scholars (ACTIONS); UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health; UCSF Team Lily & HIVE; URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity; Women’s Foundation California; Women’s Options Center, San Francisco General Hospital; Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project.
Brandon Richards, Director of Communications, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
Elliott Kozuch, Senior Communications Strategist, NARAL Pro-Choice California