Governor Newsom & Women’s Caucus Announce Bill to Allow Arizona Doctors the Ability to Provide Abortion Care to Arizona Patients in California

SACRAMENTO — With the Arizona Supreme Court allowing an 1864 near-total abortion ban to take effect, women in Arizona will soon be left without access to abortion care across the state. Arizona abortion providers will be unable to provide care without fear of extreme repercussions and unless the life of their patients are already at risk. Governor Newsom and the California Women’s Caucus are announcing new legislation—building on the Governor’s historic efforts shortly after Roe v. Wade was overturned—to allow Arizona abortion care providers to temporarily provide abortion care in California to patients from Arizona who have traveled to California for abortion care.

“Arizona Republicans continue to put women in danger—embracing a draconian law passed when Arizona was a territory, not even a state. California will not sit idly by. We’re urgently moving legislation to allow Arizona doctors to provide safe and reliable reproductive care to Arizonans here in California.”
Governor Gavin Newsom

WHY THIS MATTERS: Arizona abortion care providers will soon no longer be able to do their job of providing care to people who need it. As a result, tens of thousands of Arizonans will no longer be able to receive the reproductive care they may need. Before this pre-statehood law goes back into effect, Governor Newsom is announcing urgency legislation, in partnership with the California Women’s Caucus, to temporarily allow currently licensed Arizona abortion care providers to provide care to Arizonans here in California—meaning they could cross the border and continue to provide care legally to their Arizona patients. California shares a roughly 200-mile-long border with Arizona.

This legislation is a valuable stopgap even if the Arizona Republican-led legislature passes a law to repeal the extreme 1864 ban. With its urgency clause, SB 233 would fill a critical gap for care during a meaningful period of time before an Arizona repeal could be implemented. Swift action helps combat the confusion and chilling effect this back-and-forth creates.

“If California has to lead, we will, especially when it comes to protecting women’s health and bodily autonomy against archaic, conservative, anti-woman attacks. California will provide a safe harbor for those in Arizona providing and seeking abortion care.”
First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom

ABOUT THE PROPOSAL: Senate Bill 233 (Skinner and Aguiar-Curry) would temporarily allow licensed Arizona doctors in good standing to provide abortion and abortion-related care to Arizona patients traveling to California through November 30, 2024. The Arizona doctors would be under the oversight of California’s Medical Board and Osteopathic Medical Board and would be required to provide registration information to those boards. The bill contains an urgency clause and would take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.

Arizona leaders identified a need to expedite the ability for Arizona abortion providers to continue to provide care to Arizonans as a way to support patients in their state seeking abortion care in California. This bill responds to their call, and coordination between leaders from Arizona and California—including Governors and Attorneys General offices—is already underway to maximize the new legislation’s impact on maintaining access to care for Arizonans.

To support this effort, the organization “Red, Wine, and Blue,” a sisterhood of over a half million suburban women, has generously announced their Arizona Freedom Trust will raise funds to compensate Arizona providers—with $100,000 already committed. The fund will take advantage of existing California structures for similar state funds—expediting the process. This will work in tandem with the Abortion Practical Support Fund and the Uncompensated Care Fund to make this care more accessible to Arizonans.

  • CA Legislative Women’s Caucus Chair Sen. Skinner: “Anti-abortion forces have resurrected a dead law passed at a time when women couldn’t vote and husbands beating their wives was lawful. In upholding Arizona’s 160 year old law, it’s clear that their real objective is to return women to second class status. With SB 233, the Legislative Women’s Caucus is taking our gloves off once again as we pursue every legislative action necessary to protect women’s reproductive rights, and especially our right to an abortion. SB 233 demonstrates California will remain a strong and safe haven for all doctors who seek to provide essential health care including abortions and for their patients who deserve this care.”
  • CA Legislative Women’s Caucus Vice Chair Asm. Aguiar-Curry: “For many years, but especially since the Dobbs decision, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus has led on all of the legislative responses to the attacks on abortion and reproductive rights. We have passed legislation to expand, protect, and strengthen access to reproductive health care in our state, including access to safe abortions for all Californians, and refugees from other states seeking such care. Arizona’s courts, however, think Arizonans should live in 1864. So, to Arizona people of child-bearing age, and those who love and support them, we have your back; At least until you get the chance to reverse this attack on your rights on the Arizona ballot this November.”
  • Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President & CEO Jodi Hicks: “While anti-abortion extremists continue to attack abortion at every turn and, just this morning, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could deny medical care to pregnant people facing serious complications, California continues to work diligently to protect and expand access to abortion care for any person seeking care in our state, including out-of-state patients. We appreciate Governor Newsom looking at all options in response to the extreme and harmful ruling in Arizona and working with leaders in other states to identify helpful solutions together. Amid this chaotic landscape, any tool at the disposal of abortion providers to make sure care continues for all who seek it in California is welcome.”
  • California Medical Association President Dr. Tanya Spirtos: “This ruling not only infringes on women’s rights to seek needed health care, but it also endangers their health and well-being. All personal medical decisions, including those around abortion, should be made by patients in consultation with their health care providers. We applaud Governor Newsom and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus for their swift action to support and protect Arizona providers and patients.”

BIGGER PICTURE: In the less than 2 years since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Governor Newsom, in partnership with the California Legislature, has built California into a national leader for reproductive freedom and expanded the fight nationwide through the 23 governor Reproductive Freedom Alliance.

People seeking abortion care or information about reproductive health care in California, should visit Abortion.CA.Gov.