California lawmakers are preparing to vote on a budget that would allow up to $20 million of the state’s “Abortion Practical Support Fund” to pay for out-of-state women to travel to the state to receive abortions.
Although Governor Gavin Newsom had originally restricted the money for in-state use only, abortion advocates heavily lobbied for the change. On August 26, Newsom and top lawmakers added an amendment to the state budget allowing taxpayer money to be spent on out-of-state abortions.
Jodi Hicks, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, told the Associated Press that the state’s intention to become one of the primary abortion destinations in the country was moot if it didn’t also offer women financial help to get there.
“None of that matters if we’re not also ensuring that patients can get to where they need to go,” she said. “Everyone deserves to get health care, including abortion, and unfortunately for half the country they need to travel outside the state they live in in order to get that.”
“As the Governor has stated, California is doing its part, but we cannot do it all — private donations and philanthropy will be critical to these efforts,” Newsom spokesperson Alex Stack said. “We all need to step up to support women who are being denied reproductive freedoms by their state governments and are forced to come to California for abortion care.”
Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council, decried the budgeting decision. “The idea that the most pressing use of state funds would be to pay for people from red states to fly here to have abortions on the California taxpayer dime is really just a travesty,” he said.
The budgetary move would further cement the state’s status as an “abortion hub.” In recent months lawmakers have taken a number of steps to increase abortion in the state, including offering incentives for medical students to become abortionists, allowing minors to use their parents’ insurance for secret abortions, eliminating copays for abortions, and passing state-wide laws restricting the free speech of peaceful pro-lifers.
CBS News reports that lawmakers will vote on the budget amendment in the upcoming week.
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