The week after Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding a controversial Mississippi law that requires an abortion may not take place after fifteen weeks gestation. Mississippi as well as Texas has been under fire for their strict abortion policies.
Protestors on both sides of the issue stood outside “The Marble Palace” where the Supreme Court meets. Because the current Court has six justices that are considered to be Conservative, many pro-choice individuals believe the Court could rule in such a manner that Roe v Wade might be overturned.
Questions remain as to how the Court will rule, and some legal experts believe it will be June 2022 before the Court hands down their official decision on the matter.
Just a few days later, however, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, announced that the Golden State was working on a plan for California to become a “sanctuary state” should the United States Supreme Court overturn the landmark case.
In light of the arguments heard in November 2021, many states are suggesting that they will outlaw abortion at any point in the pregnancy if the Court rules that states are able to decide whether they allow abortion within their own territorial borders.
In September, individuals organized The California Future of Abortion Council. This is an organization that includes several abortion advocacy groups as well as at least forty abortion providers in the state. The Council drafted a report that offers forty-five recommendations for California’s legislature to consider should the Court overturn Roe v Wade.
California state Democratic Senator Toni Adkins contributed to the drafting of the report, which calls for public funding for travel expenses of the women seeking an abortion as well as lodging. The report also recommends that there be reimbursement to providers who carry out the service for women who cannot afford to pay.
Governor Gavin Newsom, who was slated to be recalled but won a recall election against Conservative talk show host Larry Elder, gave an interview to the Associated Press during which he discussed the possibility of California become a “sanctuary state” for those seeking an abortion. He revealed: “We’ll be a sanctuary . . .(we are) looking at ways to support that inevitability and looking at ways to expand our protections.” Newsom indicated that he believed California would be a place women would travel to in order to have an abortion if the Court rules to uphold the Mississippi law as it stands.
Newsom indicated to the AP that he would begin to work some of this expense into his upcoming January budget proposal.
In California, abortion is often covered for low-income residents of the state via Medicaid. Of the fifty states in the Union, California is only one of six that requires private insurance to cover abortion for any reason.
The California Future of Abortion Council states that the state must make efforts to “expand high-quality and client-centered abortion care.” Their report also requested that the state create a “California Reproductive Scholarships Corps.” This organization would provide scholarships to students in the medical field based on the principle that they would agree to perform abortions in rural areas of the Golden State.
The Council related that there will likely need to be action from the state government in order to get this prospective program off the ground. The CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California spoke to this need and projections the group looks to accomplish: “We’re looking at how to build capacity and build workforce. It will take a partnership and investment with the state.”
Live Action President Lila Rose, a staunch pro-life activist, took to Twitter to respond to the proposal. She likened California to a “slaughterhouse” rather than a sanctuary state, should the plan come to fruition. Rose also wrote that the idea was “horrific.”
No decision is expected from the Supreme Court regarding Mississippi’s case or any changes to Roe v Wade until mid-2022.