Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

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Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

California’s law is meant to give Arizonans an option to receive legal abortions from their doctor over the next several months when nearly all abortions in the state will be temporarily banned.

There’s a law in Arizona — first passed in 1864, but not enforced for decades — that bans nearly all abortions in the state. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that law would take effect in June now that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states set their own abortion laws.

The state Legislature quickly voted to repeal that law, and Arizona’s Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs promptly signed it. But the repeal won’t take effect until September at the earliest, leaving an approximately three-month window when most abortions would be banned in the state.

California’s new law, which takes effect immediately, allows licensed doctors in Arizona to come to California and perform abortions for their patients through the end of November. Licensed Arizona doctors would still have to fill out an application to perform abortions in California. But if the doctors meet certain requirements, the law directs California regulators to approve their application within five business days.

“California stands ready to protect reproductive freedom,” Newsom said.

Since the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, more than 20 states began enforcing abortion bans of varying degrees.

California has done the opposite, with Newsom vowing to make the state a “ sanctuary ” for people in other states seeking abortions. California has passed dozens of laws to protect abortion access, including setting aside $20 million in taxpayer money to help pay for patients in other states to travel to California to get an abortion.

The law Newsom signed on Thursday does not include new money to help Arizona patients travel to California for abortions. But Newsom partnered with the advocacy group Red Wine and Blue to raise money from private donors to help Arizona patients travel to California.

The group, headquartered in Ohio and launched by the Arizona Freedom Trust, seeks to organize suburban women. It had raised just over $111,000 toward its nearly $500,000 goal, according to its website.

Newsom and his Democratic allies in the state Legislature worked quickly to get this law passed. But some Republicans questioned the need for it. Last year, Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs signed an executive order barring local prosecutors from bringing abortion-related charges.

Still, Democrats in the California Legislature felt the law was necessary. State Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Democrat from Berkeley and the bill’s author, said a law was stronger than an executive order from a governor.

“Once again California has made it crystal clear for all who need or deliver essential reproductive care: We’ve got your back,” Skinner said.

The law says Arizona doctors would have to tell California regulators where they planned to perform abortions in the state. But the law bars California regulators from publishing any information on their website about Arizona doctors aside from the doctor’s name, status and license number.

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