As lawmakers elsewhere are trying to restrict access to abortions, and the United States Supreme Court is revisiting the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, Californians will now be able to abort their unborn children for free.
“With this legislation, we’ll help ensure equitable, affordable access to abortion services so that out-of-pocket costs don’t stand in the way of receiving care,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement on Tuesday after signing the bill.
California is one of six states in the U.S. to require health insurance plans to cover abortion services, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The bill, the “Abortion Accessibility Act,” which was co-authored by Democrat Sen. Lena A. Gonzalez, prevents health insurance companies from requiring co-pays, deductibles and other charges for abortions, and it bans them from imposing utilization management practices on covered abortion services.
According to Gonzalez, barriers to abortion, including expensive medical costs, disproportionately affect minorities, including people of colour, LGBTQ individuals and those with disabilities.
“Eliminating out-of-pocket costs for abortion for people with private insurance is a major step in California’s commitment to being a Reproductive Freedom state — making abortion services more accessible and affordable for all people in California,” said Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “SB 245 becoming law means that more Californians will be able to access the care they want, when they want.”
In addition to the bill's passage, another Democrat Sen. Nancy Skinner, proposed a bill on Thursday to create a state fund to support women who travel to California to get an abortion.
The bill, SB 1142, will establish a taxpayer-funded purse to help pregnant women who were denied abortions in other states to pay for travel, housing, food and childcare services while seeking an abortion in California.