Ahead of Likely U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Governor Newsom Announces New Efforts to Protect Medication Abortion Access in California
WHY THIS MATTERS: California is taking additional actions to protect patients and the abortion medications they may need – no matter what happens in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court. California will continue to fight for people to have access to the health care they need when they need it.
SACRAMENTO – Ahead of an anticipated U.S. Supreme Court ruling on medication abortion, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted new actions California is taking to protect reproductive freedom, including medication abortion, alongside First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and reproductive rights leaders.
NEW ACTIONS INCLUDE:
- Protecting pharmacists within California in dispensing Mifepristone/Mifeprex (generic) even if the Supreme Court suspends the drug’s FDA approval.
- Safeguarding California’s supply chain of medication abortion drugs under California law – by preventing any legal or licensing actions against those who manufacture, transport, store, or dispense Mifepristone or Mifeprex.
- Ensuring the privacy of patients and providers concerning reproductive health care performed in California, including when those patients travel or live out of state.
Under Governor Newsom and the Legislature’s leadership, California has been a national leader in protecting and expanding access to reproductive health care, and today’s announcements continue the State’s commitment to preserve this freedom.
WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “Republicans are waging a war on women in this country – the courts and red-state legislatures have been relentless in their efforts to target them and health care providers who provide basic reproductive care. It is important for women across our state to know that we will continue to safeguard their reproductive freedoms, and to protect California pharmacists who dispense medication abortion, without fear of persecution or prosecution.”
Today’s action comes in stark contrast to the continued hostile and harmful attacks made by extremist judges and Republican leaders in other states, including:
- Governor DeSantis signing a 6-week abortion ban in the middle of the night and behind closed doors last week.
- Governor Youngkin refusing to shield menstrual data from law enforcement.
- Governor Little signing a bill making it illegal to help a minor get an abortion outside of Idaho without parental consent.
- Governor Huckabee Sanders signing a bill that builds an anti-abortion monument in the Arkansas Capitol building.
- Texas Republicans attempting to limit information about abortion on the internet.
- South Carolina Republicans attempting to punish people who get an abortion with the death penalty.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
- Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: “When it comes to reproductive rights and abortion access, California has a proven track record of being ready and able to protect and expand access to this critical form of health care. We continue to lead the nation as a beacon for reproductive access, and we will continue to light a safe, supportive path for Californians and providers, and all those who need to come here for care.”
- Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon: “The same people who decried activists courts are now pushing the judiciary branch to nullify legitimate administrative actions. We have to stand up against this, especially when it threatens access to safe medical treatments that should be available to every woman. California will continue to do what it can to keep abortion safe, legal, affordable and accessible. We ask the federal courts to do the same.”
- CA Legislative Women’s Caucus Chair, Senator Nancy Skinner: “Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe a year ago, California has become the national beacon for reproductive freedom. No matter what the anti-abortion forces do next, we will leave no stone unturned to remain a safe haven for abortion care, contraception and reproductive services. The Legislative Women’s Caucus thanks Governor Newsom for his forward-thinking action to stockpile abortion medication so that Californians can be confident that this safe medication remains available. We are proud to stand with the Governor in taking all necessary steps to ensure full access to reproductive care and abortion services and to legally protect our healthcare providers and those who seek services.”
- CA Legislative Women’s Caucus Vice-Chair, Assemblymemer Cecilia Aguiar-Curry: “All last year, the Legislative Women’s Caucus rose to the occasion, in partnership with the Governor and Legislative Leadership, to fight for Californians’ reproductive rights and we are not about to stand down now. Some judicial appointees and states want to send us back to the middle ages on people’s reproductive health and abortion rights. They’ve proven beyond any doubt that this is not a fight we can win by focusing solely within California’s borders. We made a promise to be a refuge state for anyone seeking to exercise their rights and we intend to keep it.”
- Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President and CEO Jodi Hicks: “Today, as we await a decision from U.S. Supreme Court yet again, I applaud the Governor and the members of the CA State Legislature that continue to do the work in our state to provide assurances for patients, providers, and supporters that access to abortion in California will continue. But we are not immune here from the impacts of the unrelenting campaign to ban abortion nationwide and the attacks on other rights that we hold dear here in California. In the last few weeks, we have seen how one judge in Texas is imposing his personal beliefs and the anti-abortion agenda on the entire nation by attempting to ban mifepristone – a drug with a strong safety record that has been used by millions of women for the last two decades. No matter what the Court’s ruling may bring in the next few days, Planned Parenthood’s affiliates are committed to continuing to provide abortions in their health centers across the state – no matter what.”
- NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Olivieri Hovis: “California has been a leader in the fight for our fundamental rights under the leadership of Gov. Newsom. We face historic barriers to our freedom to make our own decisions about our bodies and futures, but California has proven time and again that it will not back down. As a Reproductive Freedom State, we know that no matter what happens next, our leaders will continue to champion abortion rights and access—including fighting to preserve undisrupted access to medication abortion care.”
- Attorney General Rob Bonta: “For decades, medication abortion, including mifepristone, has been a protection, a lifeline, a key to a healthier and better future. The attack on access to mifepristone is unconscionable and unprecedented. Here in California, we refuse to stand by and watch our people’s access to critical care be snatched away. That’s why today we stand together, firm in our commitment to fight like hell for Californians’ access to mifepristone. Abortion remains safe and legal in California and my office will continue to do everything in its power to ensure our state remains a haven for reproductive freedom and liberty.”
- First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom: “California is once again stepping up to ensure ALL women can access abortion care if necessary. We must recognize that these ongoing attacks on reproductive freedom ultimately aim to control women, keep them in the home, and render them invisible and powerless. So while our work to dismantle the patriarchal systems that oppress women is far from over, California will continue to serve as a safe haven for women and their reproductive rights.”
ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON KEY POLICY CALIFORNIA WILL PURSUE
- Safeguarding participants in the California abortion medication supply chain from any legal or licensing actions under state law for the manufacture, transport, distribution, delivery, receipt, acquisition, sale, possession, prescription, furnishment, dispensation, repackaging, or storage of Mifepristone (or its generic Mifeprex) in the state, if FDA approval is suspended or revoked.
- Clarifying that California law permits pharmacists to dispense Mifepristone and Mifeprex, regardless of FDA approval.
- Protecting California-licensed health care professionals from adverse state licensing actions for providing health care that is legal in California, but not in other states.
- Ensuring that people’s private health information cannot be accessed and used against them due to enforcement of another state’s hostile laws.
KEY RECENT ACTIONS
- Last week, Governor Newsom announced the purchase of 250,560 pills of Misoprostol – creating an emergency stockpile California providers can draw from if there are any supply chain issues potentially caused by legal uncertainty.
- In September 2022, Governor Newsom signed into law a budget and legislative package that invested more than $200 million in new funds to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion care. Of this, $40 million is to cover provider costs for people who cannot afford care (known as uncompensated care), and $20 million is for an “Abortion Practical Support Fund” to help cover the costs associated with abortion care, including travel and lodging both for people in California and people forced to come to California due to restrictions in their home state. These investments will make it easier for people experiencing barriers to care to access critical health care services.
BIGGER PICTURE: Governor Newsom recently launched the Reproductive Freedom Alliance – a first-of-its-kind nonpartisan coalition of 22 Governors working together to protect and expand access to reproductive health care. The Alliance facilitates proactive and swift coordination across reproductive freedom states so that they can put up effective firewalls to protect and expand access to reproductive care. Recently, multiple states announced stockpiles of medication abortion drugs after California shared contract details to expedite preparations.