By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed into law a slate of bills aimed at protecting and expanding access to abortion in the state.
“An alarming number of states continue to outlaw abortion and criminalize women, and it’s more important than ever to fight like hell for those who need these essential services. We’re doing everything we can to protect people from any retaliation for accessing abortion care while also making it more affordable to get contraceptives,” the Democrat said in a news release.
Newsom has been supportive of abortion rights and has vowed to keep California a safe haven for abortion seekers, while Republican-led states have banned or severely restricted abortion after the US Supreme Court eliminated the federal right to the procedure.
A number of the measures that Newsom signed Tuesday, which were passed at the end of the legislative session late last month, seek to protect abortion patients and providers from potential prosecution or penalties brought by states, or civil action originating in states, where abortion is banned.
AB 1242 prohibits California law enforcement and other specified individuals from assisting or cooperating with other states’ investigations related to abortion if the procedure was lawful under California statutes. Under the law, California technology companies are blocked from sharing digital reproductive information with out-of-state law enforcement seeking to enforce their state’s abortion ban.
AB 2223 removes the requirement in state law that a coroner investigate deaths related to self-induced or criminal abortion, and makes it so that a coroner’s statements about a fetal death certification could not be used to bring a criminal prosecution or civil action against a person for their pregnancy outcome. It also prohibits a person from facing civil or criminal liability for getting an abortion or assisting someone in obtaining an abortion.
Opponents had argued that AB 2223 would hinder law enforcement’s abilities to investigate and prosecute “infanticide,” while proponents called this a mischaracterization of the bill, which they say protects women from being criminally prosecuted for a miscarriage, abortion, perinatal death or stillbirth.
Other bills in the legislative package are intended to expand access to the procedure.
One such measure expands the Abortion Practical Support Fund that provides grants to nonprofit organizations that help low-income Californians obtain an abortion, so that the grants can be used to help out-of-state residents obtain an abortion in California.
Newsom has taken several steps to bolster abortion rights in California this year, including launching a new state website aimed at connecting women who live out of state with reproductive health care, including a tool that would help them find a provider and how to seek financial assistance for those services.
He also signed an executive order over the summer barring state agencies from sharing medical records and other information with other restrictive abortion states’ inquiries or investigations. The executive order blocks the state from extraditing California abortion providers and patients sought by another state for lawful abortion services in California.
Additionally, the governor has advocated for a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that seeks to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
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CNN’s Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.