California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is working to boost the Golden State’s “abortion infrastructure” to accommodate more out-of-state patients, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
According to the report, Newsom and other legislative leaders have asked a coalition of health experts to “propose policies to bolster the state’s abortion infrastructure and prepare it for more patients” ahead of a “surge in demand” that may follow if the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturns Roe v. Wade. The lawmakers plan to debate the ideas when they reconvene in January.
Medical director of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino counties, Dr. Janet Jacobson, told the L.A. Times that three or four patients from out-of-state visit her clinics each day. This number is reportedly up from before S.B. 8, Texas’ law banning abortions after fetal heartbeat detection, took effect.
This month, SCOTUS heard oral arguments for two cases surrounding S.B. 8. One of the cases, United States v. Texas, is the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) lawsuit against the state over S.B. 8. And Dec. 1, the Court will hear oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which surrounds the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. In Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s amicus brief filed in July, she told SCOTUS to overturn Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
“Should that happen, reproductive rights experts predict, 26 states will ban the procedure altogether and states with stronger protections for abortion – like California – will draw even more patients. There could be up to a 3,000% increase in people who ‘may drive to California for abortion care’ each year, according to Guttmacher data,” the L.A. Times reports. It notes that in 2017, California performed about 15 percent of all abortions in the United States and routinely provides abortions to about 7,000 out-of-state patients each year.
Additionally, the L.A. Times notes that the clinics can “expect up to 50 out-of-state patients a week if the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority guts abortion rights nationally,” citing data provided by Jacobson that she compiled from the former Planned Parenthood-affiliated, pro-abortion research organization the Guttmacher Institute.
In September, the month S.B. 8 took effect in Texas, Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocacy groups, along with pro-abortion state lawmakers, convened at the California Future of Abortion Council. The council is “focused on increasing funding for abortion services, providing logistical and financial help for women who need to travel, increasing the number of healthcare providers who perform abortions and strengthening legal protections for them.”
Jacobsen told the L.A. Times that she is adding to her staff and appointment capacity at her clinics. The L.A. Times mentions that another pro-abortion doctor, Dr. Daniel Grossman, said that the state should “fix its shortage of providers, especially those who perform second-trimester abortions, which are more expensive and complicated than first-trimester abortions,” and that the council should zero in on creating “hubs that can provide abortion care for large numbers of people.”
Overall, as the L.A. Times puts plainly, “California is getting ready to become the nation’s abortion provider.”