California won’t be covering travel expenses for non-residents seeking abortions in the state

California won’t be covering travel expenses for non-residents seeking abortions in the state

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Despite pledging to make California a safe haven for women seeking abortions, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration will not be using public money to help women travel from other states. 

The governor’s decision, included in a budget agreement state lawmakers reached over the weekend, surprised abortion advocates as California embraced for a likely surge of women seeking abortions in the Golden State following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

FILE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom displays a bill he signed that shields abortion providers and volunteers in California from civil judgements from out-of-state courts during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., June 24, 2022.

FILE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom displays a bill he signed that shields abortion providers and volunteers in California from civil judgements from out-of-state courts during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

California’s operating budget includes $20 million for an “Abortion Practical Support Fund” to pay for things like airfare, lodging, gas, and meals – but only for California residents seeking an abortion, not people traveling from other states. The fund will accept private donations, but it’s unclear if that money can cover out-of-state travel expenses.

“We’re being realistic. You’re going to ask, ‘Are we going to pay for everyone’s travel and accommodations for 33 million people, of which 10% may seek care in California?’ Come on. We have to be realistic about what we can absorb,” Newsom said. “It’s not just the government providing and supporting. It’s all of us. It’s you, it’s me, it’s everyone contributing.”

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Newsom’s office said the governor chose to focus on strengthening California’s existing abortion services. California’s budget includes $40 million to cover abortions for women who can’t afford them, including women from other states who travel to California. The current budget proposal allows the Abortion Practical Support Fund to also accept private donations.

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While the state legislature will likely approve the state budget on Wednesday, lawmakers can still make changes to it later. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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