New Law Allows Arizona Doctors To Perform Abortions In California Amid Legal Uncertainty


Under a new law signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients.

This legislation aims to provide an option for legal abortions to Arizonans amid the reinstatement of a near-total abortion ban in Arizona.

The recent Arizona Supreme Court decision reactivated a long-dormant 1864 law banning nearly all abortions in the state, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

This follows the 2022 Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, enabling states to set their own abortion laws. Over 20 states have since enacted varying degrees of abortion bans.

California’s new law, effective immediately, permits licensed Arizona doctors to perform abortions in California until the end of November.

This preemptive measure is in response to the uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of Arizona’s Civil War-era ban, which could take effect as early as the fall.

The state Supreme Court has issued a stay on the law’s enforcement until September 26, with a possible extension due to an additional 45-day stay in a related case.

Arizona’s legislature voted to repeal the 1864 ban, and Governor Katie Hobbs signed the repeal.

However, the repeal won’t take effect until 90 days after the legislative session ends, typically in June or July. Presently, Arizona law permits abortions up to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Arizona doctors wishing to perform abortions in California must complete an application.

If they meet specific criteria, California regulators are directed to approve their applications within five business days.

“California stands ready to protect reproductive freedom,” said Governor Newsom, reiterating his commitment to making the state a sanctuary for those seeking abortions.

California has enacted numerous laws to safeguard abortion access, including allocating $20 million to assist patients from other states in traveling to California for abortions.

While the new law does not include funding for Arizona patients to travel to California, Newsom has partnered with the advocacy group Red Wine and Blue to raise private funds for this purpose.

The group, launched by the Arizona Freedom Trust and based in Ohio, aims to mobilize suburban women and has raised over $111,000 towards its $500,000 goal.

Despite the rapid legislative action by Newsom and his Democratic allies, some Republicans questioned the necessity of the law due to the uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of Arizona’s abortion ban and opposition from Arizona’s top officials.

Nonetheless, the Democrats in the California Legislature moved forward decisively.

“Once again California has made it crystal clear for all who need or deliver essential reproductive care: We’ve got your back,” stated State Senator Nancy Skinner, the bill’s author.

The law requires Arizona doctors to inform California regulators of where they plan to perform abortions in the state.

However, California regulators are prohibited from publishing any information about these doctors on their website beyond their name, status, and license number.