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Newsom proposes law to help Arizonans get abortions in California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Sunday he would introduce legislation that would help Arizonans get abortions in his state, a move that comes after the Arizona Supreme Court this month ruled that a near-total abortion ban from 1864 can take effect in the coming weeks.

The court decision has already had a notable impact on the politics in Arizona, a pivotal battleground state for the November election. It is also testing the limits of Republican support, especially after the GOP-controlled Arizona legislature last week failed to repeal the Civil War-era law.

Newsom announced the proposal during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki,” saying it was time for those who support access to abortion to respond to Republican-led bans on the procedure with assertiveness.

The California governor also unveiled a new ad targeting proposed legislation in Alabama that would make it illegal for people to help minors get abortion care without informing a parent or legal guardian. Newsom’s political action committee, Campaign for Democracy, is paying for the ad as part of its focus on abortion rights.

“This is happening in real time,” Newsom said of Republican-led attacks on abortion access. “Our response must be in real time to be more assertive and proactive.”

The emergency legislation would expedite the licenses of Arizona abortion providers to let them treat their patients in California. It will be introduced in the statehouse this week through the legislature’s women’s caucus, Newsom added.

“We’re now doing that as it relates to being a good neighbor, not just to those that seek reproductive care and reproductive freedom, but also to our neighbors, particularly in Arizona,” he said. “We’ve got some ideas to help those that seek to get their care in California to have their back as well.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, Brandon Richards, a spokesman for Newsom, said the governor’s office has worked closely with California state lawmakers to “quickly and effectively” respond to the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision.

Richards did not provide details on how quickly this emergency legislation could become a law, but said additional details will be shared in the coming days.

Newsom’s office worked alongside Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) to develop a plan that would expedite Arizona abortion providers’ abilities to provide reproductive care to their constituents in California.

A near-total abortion ban first enacted in 1864 is expected to go into effect in Arizona as soon as June 8 if the state legislature does not intervene. The law forbids the procedure except to save a mother’s life and punishes providers with prison time. The decision supersedes Arizona’s current law, which permits abortions up to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“I recognize what’s at stake because we’re already feeling it,” said Newsom, who was speaking on MSNBC from a Planned Parenthood clinic in Sacramento. “We’re already dealing with the absorption of people, seeking reproductive care in the state of California. It’s up by 17 percent post-Dobbs in this state,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court decision in 2022 that ended Roe v. Wade.

Newsom noted that about a third of Planned Parenthood patients in the nation live in California, where voters have consistently defended reproductive rights. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe in 2022, California voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition that enshrined abortion rights and contraception in the state’s constitution.

“No state has more responsibility, more opportunity, but bigger burden than the state of California,” Newsom said.

In his MSNBC appearance, Newsom pointed out that the emergency legislation was, in some ways, inspired by the words of Republican candidate Kari Lake, who is running for the Senate in Arizona. Lake, who has long been a staunch antiabortion politician, suggested that Arizonans seeking abortions should travel across state lines into California.

“We took that quite literally and quite seriously,” Newsom said of Lake’s words.

While former president Donald Trump and other top Republicans have celebrated the overturning of Roe, which was made possible with the help of three conservative Supreme Court justices appointed by Trump, the former president and other Republicans running for office this November have also sought distance from the decision and its repercussions, after it became clear that restricting abortion access was not popular among most American voters.

Trump has recently shifted to promoting the idea that laws on abortion access should be left up to the states. But, like other Democratic leaders nationwide, Newsom said he doesn’t believe Trump when he says he won’t sign a national abortion ban.

“He’s a liar,” Newsom said. “He’ll say whatever he needs to say on any day of the week.”

Karoline Leavitt, press secretary for Trump’s campaign, shot down his claim.

“President Trump has repeatedly said he will not sign a federal abortion ban and has long been consistent in supporting the rights of states to make decisions on abortion,” Leavitt said in a statement, adding Newsom and Democrats were “out of touch” with most Americans on their stance on the issue.

During his MSNBC appearance, Newsom said he’s focusing on neighboring Arizona and Nevada — swing states — electorally, arguing that both states “will play, potentially, an outsized role in this election.” The California governor, widely seen in the Democratic Party as a likely 2028 presidential contender, said he will campaign there on the issue of abortion, hoping that the two states will help deliver a presidential win to Biden and help Democrats keep the Senate.

“How can women support Donald Trump for election this November?” he said. “That’s the cause and case we need to make with vigor and passion and purpose, because there’s profound meaning and consequences if we fall short on that.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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