Bill would allow Arizona abortion providers to practice in California temporarily

Arizona abortion providers could practice in California under a new law designed to provide care to women who cross the state line as they face newly restrictive prohibitions at home.

The bill introduced on Wednesday aims to expedite temporary authorization for those Arizona doctors to practice in both states and is the latest move by Gov. Gavin Newsom to make California a reproductive health “sanctuary” as abortion seekers in several Republican led states have lost access to care after the overturning of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 2022.

The proposal would temporarily allow licensed Arizona doctors to perform abortions and provide related care to Arizona patients traveling to California until the end of November. The Arizona doctors would be under the oversight of California’s Medical Board and Osteopathic Medical Board.

The legislation, which if passed and signed by the governor would go into effect immediately, comes after the Arizona Supreme Court voted this month to impose a near total abortion ban, reinstating a law from 1864 that prohibits abortions except when the woman’s life is at risk.

“Arizona Republicans continue to put women in danger — embracing a draconian law passed when Arizona was a territory, not even a state,” Newsom said in a statement released Wednesday morning. “California will not sit idly by.”

The governor is working with the state legislature’s California Women’s Caucus to pass the bill.

California saw a surge in abortions after the Supreme Court reversed Roe, and now clinics are bracing for more following the latest Arizona ruling.

The bill is likely to pass with ease with Newsom’s support but is sure to reignite criticisms from Republican lawmakers who say the Democratic governor — widely viewed as a future presidential candidate — should focus more on California’s crises, including a budget deficit and surging homelessness, and less on out-of-state policies.

The bill joins a litany of abortion measures that Newsom and California’s Democratic supermajority have approved in recent years — not just to enhance care in the Golden State but to provide support to nonresidents facing limited care nationwide.

Last year, Newsom signed a bill into law to allow doctors living under “hostile” laws in states where abortion is banned to receive training in California.

Earlier this week, at a news conference in Modesto, Newsom said that abortion access rollbacks have already “placed a burden” on California’s healthcare system, especially in Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties, where clinics have seen an increase in out-of-staters, including patients from Arizona and Texas.

On Sunday, Newsom launched another round of TV advertisements that call out red state antiabortion laws, this time to be aired in Alabama and focusing on proposals that aim to punish women for interstate travel to obtain services.

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