Newsom Plan: Arizona Doctors Could Perform Abortions in California to Counter Ban

In a move to counter Arizona’s restrictive abortion law, California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed allowing Arizona doctors to perform abortions in California for their patients, announced Wednesday. This initiative aims to circumvent Arizona’s impending law that bans nearly all abortions except when the mother’s life is at risk, set to take effect on June 8.

Under Newsom’s proposal, only doctors licensed in good standing in Arizona and their patients would be eligible, and the measure would be temporary, valid through the end of November. Newsom emphasized that protecting abortion access is a matter of “basic decency” and “respect for women and girls.”

“This Arizona law is the first border-state law that will directly impact the state of California,” stated Governor Newsom, a Democrat. “Rather than just acknowledging that fate and future, we’re trying to get ahead of this law.”

Newsom unveiled the proposal alongside the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and advocates, condemning the Arizona law as “draconian” and asserting that California has a duty to intervene. To become law, the bill requires approval by a two-thirds vote in each house of the Legislature before reaching Newsom’s desk, upon which it would go into effect immediately.

Dr. Tanya Spirtos, president of the California Medical Association and a gynecologist, expressed regret that Arizona abortion patients would need to travel out of state but commended California for stepping in to assist them.

“All personal medical decisions, including those around abortion, should be made by patients in consultation with their health care providers,” Dr. Spirtos affirmed. “By banning virtually all abortions in the state, the ruling will put physicians in harm’s way for simply providing often lifesaving medical care to their patients.”

The Arizona Supreme Court recently cleared the way for the near-total abortion ban to proceed, placing Arizona among 14 other states that have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy. Although abortion access in California has never been seriously threatened, Governor Newsom has made defending that access a focal point of his administration, aligning with his broader political ambitions.