California Wants to Be an Abortion Access ‘Sanctuary’

For once, abortion advocates are pushing their own agenda instead of pushing back.

Close-up of sign that reads Protect safe, legal abortion
California advocates suggested 45 ways to shore up abortion access for Californians and patients traveling to the state for abortion care. Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Ahead of a Supreme Court decision in the biggest abortion case since Roe v. Wade, the future of reproductive rights looks pretty grim. But California is now offering itself up as a “sanctuary” for abortion access—and giving us a blueprint of what a pro-abortion United States could look like.

With the backing of the state’s political leaders, the California Future of Abortion Council last Wednesday released a list of 45 policy recommendations to shore up abortion access for both Californians and patients traveling to the state for abortion care.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom started the council in September, bringing together more than 40 abortion providers, researchers, and advocacy organizations like Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. The council drafted the recommendations with the help of California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego.

“California is in a unique position—while our reproductive freedoms and ability to make choices about our own bodies are constitutionally protected, the same does not hold true in other areas of the country,” Atkins wrote in a letter introducing the report.

California is anticipating a nearly 3,000 percent increase in the number of pregnant people driving to California for abortion care in case of a total reversal of Roe v. Wade, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The council’s report suggests ways to support these patients, including paying for the abortion care of low-income people from out of state and helping fund travel, lodging, and child care expenses.

“We’ll be a sanctuary,” Newsom told the Associated Press.

But things aren’t always sunny in California. According to the council’s report, pregnant people in the state still face significant barriers to accessing abortion, including high co-pays and deductibles, the need to travel considerable distances, and difficulties with finding the right provider.

The California Future of Abortion Council’s recommendations include:

  • increasing funding for providers
  • standardizing telehealth insurance coverage
  • filling gaps in care caused by religiously affiliated hospitals and health systems
  • better sex ed

It’s ambitious—but for once, abortion advocates are pushing their own agenda, instead of pushing back.

This post was adapted from a Twitter thread.