(The Center Square) – California lawmakers may soon send a budget bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom that would allow the state’s abortion fund to help some out-of-state residents seeking abortion access in California.
Mass, included in a health omnibus bill, would administer grants from the State Abortion Practice Support Fund to nonprofit organizations that specialize in assisting low-income abortion patients trying to obtain their services. The bill specifies that the funds can be used for certain expenses, including “practical support” services — defined in the bill as “financial or in-kind” assistance to help a patient obtain an abortion in California.
The budget trailer bill comes as California lawmakers and Newsom have vowed to expand access to abortion as other states are increasing restrictions on abortion after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
If the bill passes, California would spend some of the $20 million set aside in the state budget for the Practical Abortion Support Fund to help pregnant residents of other states pay for travel expenses to obtain an abortion in California. In the state budget Newsom signed in June, money in the fund was limited to helping only California residents, not those traveling from other states, such as previously reported from the Associated Press.
However, this changes as per the updates made in the health omnibus bill. The updated language in the bill “provides flexibility to address issues of in-state and out-of-state travel” to obtain an abortion, Department of Finance spokesman HD Palmer told The Center Square in an email.
“The purpose of the updated language in the health trailer bill is not to limit any services previously provided, but to expand the types of services needed to support a woman’s right to choose, such as child care dependent, translation services, travel assistance and other support. services,” wrote Palmer.
In addition to expanding the use of abortion funds for out-of-state travel, the health omnibus bill also authorizes the Department of Health Care Services to provide $1,000 retainer payments to California clinic employees, who often provide primary care and preventive care. for low-income populations throughout the state. The measure also eliminates co-payments for the state’s 14 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
The bill is part of a budget package of 13 bills that lawmakers aim to pass by Wednesday’s legislative deadline. Senate lawmakers approved the 13 budget bills Tuesday, sending them to the House for final approval before being sent to Newsom.
Other budget bills include measures for the expansion of COVID-19 sick leave with additional pay by December, create Tax credit for the worker in 2024 and create a program to deliver grants for some small farming operations affected by California’s ongoing drought.
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