Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation this week that would make abortion services cheaper in California by cutting out-of-pocket costs.
The bill, championed by Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, prohibits health plans and insurers from enacting co-pay, deductible or other cost-sharing requirements for abortions and abortion-related services. Under this bill, health plans and insurers also cannot impose utilization management practices (a process to determine the medical necessity of a certain procedure) on abortions or abortion-related services.
In signing the legislation Tuesday, Gov. Newsom lambasted other Republican-led states in the U.S. that have enacted laws restricting abortion access.
“As states across the country attempt to move us backward by restricting fundamental reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all,” Gov. Newsom, a Democrat, said. “With this legislation, we’ll help ensure equitable, affordable access to abortion services so that out-of-pocket costs don’t stand in the way of receiving care.”
Gov. Newsom signed the legislation during a virtual ceremony Tuesday while joined by members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, representatives of reproductive rights groups and first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
“In the Golden State, we value women and recognize all they shoulder in their dual roles as caregivers and breadwinners,” Ms. Siebel Newsom said in a statement. “California will continue to lead by example and ensure all women and pregnant people have autonomy over their bodies and the ability to control their own destinies.”
The bill, championed by Sen. Gonzalez, was called the Abortion Accessibility Act.
“Today, we are making sure that abortion is not a right in name only, and that all people have true freedom to decide if, when, and how to start a family, regardless of their income or ability to pay,” Sen. Gonzalez, the Senate majority whip, said. “I am thankful to all our partners who so dedicatedly advocated for SB 245 and who continue to speak up for reproductive freedom in our State. My appreciation also goes out to Gov. Gavin Newsom for taking swift action to sign this bill, as well as to my colleagues in the Legislature for their support. ”
California is one of only six states that require health insurance plans to cover abortion services.
“Gov. Newsom promised to make California a ‘sanctuary’ for abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. This is the polar opposite of what a real sanctuary would be: a place where vulnerable unborn children are safeguarded in the law and women’s real-world needs are met with compassion and support, not a cheaper way to end their child’s life,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, told the News-Press.
“A growing number of states serve women and families through public Alternatives to Abortion programs, in addition to 2,700 pro-life pregnancy centers nationwide that provide a plethora of vital services typically at no cost,” Ms. Dannenfelser continued. “A truly pro-woman governor would do well to follow their example, not double down on pro-abortion extremism that hurts women and only helps the abortion industry’s bottom line.”
“Gov. Newsom and the California Legislature are once again promoting the abortion industry at the expense of Californians. This new law is not pro-choice, it’s emphatically pro-abortion. It does absolutely nothing for women who want to deliver their children alive,” California Right to Life director of outreach Mary Rose Short told the News-Press. “This bill prioritizes abortion over any other medical procedure or treatment. Californians living with cancer, diabetes, or other conditions must not only pay for their own healthcare, but politicians have decided they must also pay for others’ ‘free’ abortions through their increased insurance costs.”