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Will California become an abortion hub? How a Supreme Court decision could affect the state

Gillian Brassil, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

“I do think that it is imperative that policymakers in California really start thinking about what California needs to do to prepare for some of that increased need, including for those who are going to be traveling to California for care. I think it’s really important that we put the infrastructure in place now,” Matsubara said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee.

Without Roe v. Wade, 26 states are likely to ban abortion to some extent, the Guttmacher Institute predicts. Twenty-one already have some restrictions ready to go: 12 of those states have “trigger bans” that would bar abortion immediately if the court overturns Roe v. Wade.

California is an abortion destination

People already drive to California from out of state to have abortions.

But if the court lets states ban abortion entirely, California could see an almost 3,000% increase in people driving to the state to get one, according to an analysis published by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and policy organization that supports abortion access.

Most of those travelers would be from Arizona, the institute predicted.

 

Nevada and Washington would also see an increase in people driving to obtain abortions if the court allows states to ban them, but not to the same extent, per the same analysis.

California could see a 12% increase in travelers seeking an abortion if the court allows states to bar abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and a 13% increase for a 15-week ban, according to the institute.

Matsubara said that California already is working to improve abortion access to California residents in underserved and rural communities while embracing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s declaration that the state is a “reproductive freedom state.”

One of those measures includes trying to adjust to the need for distributing pregnancy-ending medication through telemedicine, a need highlighted by the pandemic.

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