It remains a strong possibility that Roe V. Wade will be overturned, and sanctuary states and cities are preparing themselves for an influx of women seeking abortions. California, perhaps, is the foremost among them.
The California State Legislature is considering a package of 13 bills aiming to improve access to abortion and reduce costs. These bills range from protecting women from law enforcement to financial assistance for those seeking abortions. Governor Gavin Newsom has pledged $125 million to back these initiatives.
A personal story
“The goal is to really enshrine and ensure that California is a reproductive freedom state for all,” says state Assembly member Buffy Wicks, a representative of part of Oakland.
In 2019, Wicks publicly shared her own abortion story, becoming the first lawmaker to do so on the floor of the California Assembly.
“I was 26 years old, in between jobs and in between homes,” she said in 2019. “Staying on a friend’s couch, unemployed. And facing an unplanned pregnancy was a vulnerable time in my life.”
After receiving help from Planned Parenthood, Wicks went on to work with Barack Obama on the campaign trail and then in the White House. In 2018, she won her seat in the California State Legislature, and she is now married with two daughters.
“For me, having an abortion was an empowering decision,” she says, “one that I have never regretted.”
Wicks shared another story of her experiences with abortion. Not knowing she was pregnant, she’d had a miscarriage, and her doctor told her that they needed to perform an emergency abortion procedure.
This is an instance where abortion is a life-saving procedure, which laws in certain states could easily scare doctors out of performing. Many women in need will likely be traveling to California to seek abortion providers. A report from the Guttmacher Institute predicted that demand for abortion in California would rise by 3,000 percent, from 46,000 to 1.4 million women if Roe V. Wade is overturned. One bill proposed in the package is setting aside state funds to help women who have traveled from out of state for an abortion.
This is one of many laws on the books in California and other potential sanctuary states preparing for a sudden increase in demand for their abortion providers. One bill that Wicks proposed herself states that no woman can be prosecuted or terminated for aborting a pregnancy.
With Roe V. Wade’s looming overturn, certain US states like California, and Connecticut, are becoming better prepared to deal with the change in policy and abortion access and safety.