California will shield doctors and pharmacists who ship abortion pills out of state from prosecution.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed the new policy into law, which prohibits California authorities from cooperating with law enforcement in states that prohibit mail-delivery abortion pill services. The new law also bars bail agents or bounty hunters from transporting pharmacists or doctors to other states for prosecution.
Furthermore, California has now banned social media companies from complying with subpoenas, requests, or warrants from out-of-state investigators who are seeking records that may disclose the identity of patients who tried to obtain abortion pills via mail from California.
“Radical politicians continue their all out assault on women’s health care with dangerous and deadly consequences,” Newsom said in a Sept. 27 press release. “The right to an abortion is enshrined in California’s constitution. We will continue to protect women and health care workers who are seeking and providing basic care.”
Senate Bill 345 was sponsored by state Senator Nancy Skinner on March 17, 2023.
“Medication abortion is widely used and proven to be safe and effective, but with more and more states criminalizing reproductive health care providers and patients, access to this FDA-approved treatment and other services is being further restricted every day. Contraception and medication for gender-affirming care are also under attack,” said Skinner in her announcement. “Under SB 345, California health care practitioners will be able to provide essential reproductive and gender-affirming care that is legal in California, regardless of their patient’s geographic location, knowing that California is doing everything it can to protect them against the draconian laws of other states.”
The legislation was backed by the Black Women for Wellness Action Project, NARAL Pro-Choice California, California Nurse-Midwives Association, the Center for Reproductive Rights, as well as Equality California.
According to a study published by the Guttmacher Institute, 54% of all abortions were medically induced in 2022. Medical abortions have been on the rise since 2000, climbing from 6% of all abortions in 2001 to 29% in 2017.
“Currently, medication abortion is approved for use up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. The FDA approved that limit based on research the agency reviewed at the time,” noted the organization. “However, additional research shows provision beyond 10 weeks is safe and effective and some providers administer medication abortion ‘off label’ after that point in pregnancy. Patients initiate a medication abortion by taking mifepristone, followed by misoprostol one or two days later, as directed by a provider or the manufacturer’s instructions.”
In December 2021, the Food and Drug Administration finally approved abortion pills for telemedicine prescription and signed off on the drugs being delivered by mail in states that do not have a ban in place.