California is set to allocate up to $20 million to help women from other states access abortion in the Golden State.
On Friday, Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom and leaders in the legislature unveiled an amendment to the state budget that would permit California to spend public funds on out-of-state travel for abortions. Legislators are set to vote on the measure this week, the Associated Press reported.
In the past, Newsom had been hesitant to create such an allocation, arguing that the funds in the “Abortion Practical Support Fund” needed to be for in-state travel, saying, “we have to be realistic about what we can absorb.”
Abortion supporters lobbied Newsom’s office on the topic for weeks before Newsom and the leaders announced the amendment. The fund will take in public funds, but it will also receive private money.
“As the Governor has stated, California is doing its part, but we cannot do it all — private donations and philanthropy will be critical to these efforts,” Newsom spokesperson Alex Stack told the AP. “We all need to step up to support women who are being denied reproductive freedoms by their state governments and are forced to come to California for abortion care.”
Newsom has said in the past that California will be a “sanctuary state” for abortion, meaning women will be able to access the procedure in California if it is prohibited in their state.
In November, California voters will decide whether to enshrine the right to abortion and other contraceptive measures in the state constitution.
The idea behind using public funds to help women get abortions is not limited to California. St. Louis, Missouri, as well as Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, are all cities where leaders have taken action to establish taxpayer money to help women get abortions in other states.
Some of the funds in California could be directed to Access Reproductive Justice, California’s only statewide abortion fund. The group’s director, Jessica Pinckney, said they recently saw more out-of-state women than those who were from California.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase of Texans and Arizonians. We’re also starting to see folks coming from Louisiana, Alabama — much further than we would have even anticipated,” Pinckney said. “I still don’t necessarily think we have the full story of what things are going to look like now in this post-Roe era.”
The pro-life California Family Council has lobbied against the funding.
“The idea that the most pressing use of state funds would be to pay for people from red states to fly here to have abortions on the California taxpayer dime is really just a travesty,” president Jonathan Keller said.