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California Gov. Newsom allots $57M to strengthen abortion access

California Gov. Newsom allots $57M to strengthen abortion access
California Gov. Gavin Newsom poses for a photo with supporters of Planned Parenthood LA earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood LA/Twitter

May 11 (UPI) -- As the Supreme Court appears poised to strike down abortion's federal protections, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced an additional nearly $60 million to strengthen the state's access to the medical procedure and to cover an anticipated influx of out-of-state patients seeking it.

The Democratic governor announced the $57 million increase to his Reproductive Health Package unveiled in January, bumping the proposal's top line to $125 million.

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From the new funding, $40 million has been set aside for grants to reproductive healthcare providers to help cover the cost of abortion services for low- and moderate-income individuals without health insurance and those from out of state.

An additional $15 million has also been allotted for grants to community reproductive health, rights and justice organizations for sexual and reproductive health outreach and education with another $1 million for a website to inform the public on state abortion laws, reproductive healthcare providers and ways to cover reproductive health services.

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"California will not stand idly by as extremists roll back our basic constitutional rights," he said in a statement. "We're going to fight like hell, making sure that all women -- not just those in California -- know that this state continues to recognize and protect their fundamental rights."

He also said they will offer incentives to court businesses to relocate to California from states with abortion bans and laws restricting the rights of LGBTQ people. His office further explained that the incentive programs will provide additional consideration for such companies that "share California's values."

"We're expanding access to these critical services, welcoming businesses and their employees fleeing anti-abortion states and reaffirming our commitment to continuing to work closely with the legislature and reproductive rights stakeholders to further solidify California's leadership on abortion rights," Newsom said.

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The announcement was made as Republican-led states have sought through legislature to increasingly restrict access to abortion and nearly two weeks after a draft opinion by the Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe vs. Wade that provided the medical procedure with federal protections was leaked to the press.

Democrats nationwide protested the decision with Newsom announcing an amendment to enshrine the right to access abortion in the state's constitution hours after the draft decision was leaked

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On Wednesday, the divided U.S. Senate voted down a largely symbolic Democrat-pushed proposal to codify Roe vs. Wade into federal law.

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Planned Parenthood President and CEO Jodi Hicks called the budget increase announced Wednesday not only a step toward maintaining access to abortion in California but an expansion of it.

"The more than $100 million in investments will go a long way in protecting and expanding sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion access, for those who live here and those who may be forced to seek care here," Hicks said in a statement. "As we prepare for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade and witness other states stripping access to abortion, this investment is crucial to ensuring the future of abortion access in California."

According to the Guttmacher Institute, last year was "the worst" for abortion rights in 50 years with 108 abortion restrictions enacted by state legislatures. The previous high was 89 set in 2011.

So far this year, 37 such restrictions have been enacted, it said.

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