National News

California Governor Proposes Law to Assist Arizonans Seeking Abortions

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen in Los Angeles June 9, 2022. The governor announced April 21, 2024, that he plans to introduce legislation to make it easier for Arizonans to get abortions in California. (Photo: CNS/Lucy Nicholson, Reuters)

WASHINGTON — More than a week after the Arizona Supreme Court let stand an 1864 law in the state banning abortions, Democratic state legislators moved to repeal the law, and failed to get enough support from Republican legislators to do so. 

Despite not getting the votes to even bring the measure to the floor April 17, lawmakers in favor of the repeal said they will try again in future sessions. In a statement, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs said she will “continue to call on the legislature to do its job and repeal this law.” 

The abortion ban is expected to go into effect by June 8 if the legislature does not intervene. The law bans abortions except to save a mother’s life and imposes prison sentences on abortion providers. The state’s current law permits abortions up to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Amid the attention given to Arizona’s abortion policies, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced April 21 that he would introduce legislation to make it easier for Arizonans to get abortions in California.

The legislation would expedite the licenses of Arizona abortion providers to allow them to treat their patients, said Newsom on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.”

On the news program, Newsom said the legislation to be introduced was prompted in part by the words of Kari Lake, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona. She recently suggested at a campaign event that Arizonans seeking abortions should travel to nearby states.

“We took that quite literally and quite seriously,” Newsom said.

In 2022, California voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, six months after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade.

The California Catholic Conference strongly opposed the amendment calling its wording “so broad and unrestrictive that it would encourage and protect even late-term abortions, which most Californians oppose.”

Arizona is developing a similar ballot initiative that would amend Arizona’s constitution to prohibit the state from legislating against abortion up until fetal viability, around 24 weeks into a pregnancy, and would also place other abortion protections into law.

Arizona’s Catholic bishops spoke out against this initiative when they said they were pleased with the state Supreme Court’s April 9 ruling banning abortions in the state, but cautioned that the proposed amendment on the November ballot would undo this ban.

They said the proposed initiative would “likely remove most safeguards for girls and women that are currently in place at abortion clinics, permit a minor to obtain an abortion without parental involvement or permission, and allow for painful late-term abortions of viable preborn children.”

“We do not believe that this extreme initiative is what Arizona wants or needs, and we continue to pray that it does not succeed,” the bishops added in a statement released by the Arizona Catholic Conference.