Newsom introduces bill to support Arizona abortion access

April 24, 2024

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced a new bill in the state Legislature on Wednesday that would allow Arizona abortion providers to be quickly approved for work in California, in response to Arizona implementing one of the country’s strictest abortion laws.

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, Republican state lawmakers have shot down attempts to overturn it.

“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. “California will not sit idly by. We’re urgently moving legislation to allow Arizona doctors to provide safe and reliable reproductive care to Arizonans here in California.”

The California Legislative Women’s Caucus joined him in announcing the legislation.

The California bill, if passed, would allow Arizona abortion providers to quickly gain licenses to operate in California.

“This legislation is a valuable stopgap even if the Arizona Republican-led Legislature passes a law to repeal the extreme 1864 ban,” Newsom’s office said. “With its urgency clause, SB 233 would fill a critical gap for care during a meaningful period of time before an Arizona repeal could be implemented. Swift action helps combat the confusion and chilling effect this back-and-forth creates.”

Newsom, who is also a surrogate for President Biden’s reelection campaign, said in an interview Sunday that the focus on Arizona comes as abortion rights appear to be a central campaign issue 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.

A ballot measure on abortion will be on the November ballot in Arizona. 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 Kansas and Kentucky.