Regardless of whether it should be legal, abortion is undeniably a gruesome procedure.
However, abortion has become a virtual sacrament in California. Governor Gavin Newsom recently spent $100,000 on billboards in 7 red states, promoting “abortion tourism,” inviting women to come to California to have an abortion. The state is spending one million dollars on a new website prompting abortion in Calfornia. And California has set aside $200 million to pay travel and lodging costs of women in other states to come to California and have abortions.
Now California Attorney General Rob Bonta is jumping into the fray by siding with a Texas lawsuit against a prohibition on travel out of that state to obtain or provide abortions.
Bonta is leading a coalition of 19 state attorney generals and the attorney general of Washington DC that just filed a friend of the court brief in favor of the plaintiffs. He was joined by the attorney generals for Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
“For over 150 years, the right to travel freely has been a fundamental liberty in the United States. Now, that right is under threat, as a result of extreme anti-abortion lawmakers like those in Texas — but California is pushing back,” Bonta said in a press release. “We will not let anti-choice states unlawfully infringe on people’s right to work, to provide care, to visit and move freely across state lines. Reproductive rights are fully protected in California, and we will use every tool in our toolbox to ensure that our state remains a safe haven for all those seeking reproductive care.”
Bonta’s office said the coalition states that filed the amicus curiae brief have a strong interest here because thousands of the “coalition states’” residents live in Texas to attend college, go to graduate school, or to serve as temporary workers; millions of others enter Texas as visitors each year. The coalition has a significant interest in ensuring that those residents may leave Texas and return to their home state to access time-sensitive, lawful, and safe medical care, including abortions.”
The lawsuit that Bonta is backing was filed by 8 pro-abortion groups and an OB Gyn earlier this August in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division. The plaintiffs are Fund Texas Choice, the North Texas Equal Access Fund, the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Frontera Fund, The Afiya Center, West Fund, Jane’s Due Process, Clinic Access Support Network and Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi.
Their complaint contends that the Texas law violates “Plaintiffs’ rights to freely travel, freely associate, freely speak, and freely support members of their communities through financial assistance, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and federal law.”
The Texas plaintiffs are asking a federal judge for an injunction prohibiting the law from taking effect.
In the amici curiae brief that Bonta and his attorney general colleagues filed, they ask the judge to block implementation of the law because it interferes with the well-established constitutional right to travel that affects all the states that filed the brief.
“In addition to preserving Plaintiff’s own rights to travel, an injunction would help safeguard the health and liberty of Amici state residents who are in Texas as students, temporary workers or visitors and allow them to travel to Amici States.”
“And it would guard against Texas’s interference with the safety and security of Texas residents seeking refuge within Amici States borders” to procure abortion services.
“Amici States”–meaning states that signed the brief–”have a powerful stake in ensuring that participants in our health care systems are not chilled by the threat of criminal liability or costly litigation from traveling out of Texas into our jurisdictions to engage in conduct that complies with our state laws.”
The brief concludes by saying that “an injunction ensuring that Plaintiffs and others similarly situated are free to travel interstate for purposes related to out-of-state abortion would avoid substantail harms and benefit the public interest.
But for one pro-life activitist California’s fixation on abortion tourism is grotesque.
John Gerardi, director of Right to Life of Central California, told the California Globe “we oppose any direct funding of abortion and funding people from other states to come get abortions. It’s an enormous misuse of taxpayer spending since we have so much trouble with prenatal care in this state.”
He said Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, pays doctors very low rates for prenatal services; consequently poor pregnant women have trouble getting proper care.
State dollars should be used to help pregnant women, not fund out of state abortions, Giradi argues. “It’s ridiculous we are bending over backwards” to fund out of state abortions when our own “citizens need help.”
As for Bonta’s legal action, Gerardi said, “It’s annoying that multiple successive attorney generals have focused more on suing the Trump administration or suing the states than law enforcement in California.”
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