Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

California’s law is a response to Arizona’s Supreme Court last month upholding an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions in that state. The Arizona Legislature responded by repealing the law earlier this month but that won’t take effect until later this year.

In the interim, Arizona doctors and their patients can now come to California for the procedure.

“I’m grateful for the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and all our partners for moving quickly to provide this backstop,” Newsom said. “California stands ready to protect reproductive freedom.”

Since the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, more than 20 states began enforcing abortion bans of varying degrees.

California has done the opposite, with Newsom vowing to make the state a “sanctuary” for people in other states seeking abortions. California has passed dozens of laws to protect abortion access, including setting aside $20 million in taxpayer money to help pay for patients in other states to travel to California to get an abortion.

Newsom and his Democratic allies in the state Legislature worked quickly to get this law passed. But some Republicans questioned the need for it. Last year, Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs signed an executive order barring local prosecutors from bringing abortion-related charges.

Still, Democrats in the California Legislature felt the law was necessary. State Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Democrat from Berkeley and the bill’s author, said a law was stronger than an executive order from a governor.

“Once again California has made it crystal clear for all who need or deliver essential reproductive care: We’ve got your back,” Skinner said.

California’s law says Arizona doctors who are licensed in that state can come to California to perform abortions through Nov. 30.

The Newsom administration said California’s law is “a critical stopgap for Arizona patients and providers.”

Licensed Arizona doctors would have to apply to the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California. The law requires California regulators to approve those requests within five days.

The law says Arizona doctors would have to tell California regulators where they planned to perform abortions in the state. But the law bars California regulators from publishing any information on their website about Arizona doctors aside from the doctor’s name, status and license number.

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