California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a new law that aims to prevent other states from prosecuting doctors and pharmacists who mail abortion pills to patients in places where abortion is restricted. The law goes beyond California’s existing law that protects doctors who treat out-of-state patients who travel to California for abortions. The new law prohibits authorities from cooperating with out-of-state investigations into doctors who provide abortion pills through mail services. It also bans the apprehension and transportation of doctors and pharmacists to other states by bounty hunters or bail agents for prosecution related to providing abortion services. Similar laws are in place in New York and Massachusetts.
The new law in California also prohibits state-based social media companies, such as Facebook, from complying with out-of-state requests for records to identify patients seeking abortion pills. California State Senator Nancy Skinner, the author of the bill, stated that the law allows healthcare providers in California to offer “essential care to people in states where access to abortion is restricted”. The law, however, only protects doctors and pharmacists who reside in California.
The California Catholic Conference opposed the law, arguing that the state is imposing its ideology on states and citizens who do not support abortion. They claim that denying other states the right to protect unborn children and public health sets a dangerous precedent.
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, half of U.S. states have passed laws banning or restricting access to abortion, including limiting access to the abortion pill, mifepristone. The new law in California is one of eight that Governor Newsom signed on Wednesday to protect the murder of the unborn.