Newsom set to propose legislation to help Arizonans get abortions in California

April 21, 2024

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Sunday that state lawmakers will introduce a bill this week to assist women traveling from Arizona seeking abortion care in response to the rollout of one of the strictest abortion restrictions in the country.

An Arizona Supreme Court decision earlier this month implemented an 1864 abortion law preventing access to the procedure in nearly all circumstances starting May 1. Despite calls from national Republicans to replace the law with a less strict measure, state lawmakers have shot down attempts to overturn it.

“It sickens you,” Newsom said of the Arizona law in an MSNBC interview with Jen Psaki on Sunday. 

“We now have a ban [that] goes back to 1864 in the state of Arizona, and they’re celebrating — 1864. I thought the Republican Party wanted to put a wrecking ball to the 21st century,” he said. “Now they want to recreate the 19th century.”

The “emergency legislation” would allow Arizona abortion providers to become quickly approved to work in California, allowing them to continue their work from the neighboring state.

Newsom did not expand on exactly when the bill would be introduced or how he planned to usher it through the Legislature before its summer recess.

The governor, who is also a surrogate for President Biden’s reelection, said the focus on Arizona comes as abortion rights appear to be a focus of campaigning for the November election.

The effort is set to “focus on Arizona electorally, to focus on Nevada electorally, states that will play potentially an outsized role in this election,” he said.

Ballot measures regarding abortion will be on the ballot in Arizona in November, and multiple other states — including the key swing state of Nevada — have pursued similar ballot measures. Those efforts have helped Democrats in recent elections, including gubernatorial victories in deep-red Kansas and Kentucky.