Just a little over a week after surviving a recall election, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed into law two abortion rights bills on Wednesday, including one that helps children keep abortions a secret from their parents.
The law, AB 1184, makes it easier for children, teenagers, and young adults on their parents' insurance plans to keep their medical information secret.
Secret 'Services' Kept from Insurance Policyholder
According to the California Family Council, the bill which was sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California prohibits insurance companies from revealing to the policyholder the "sensitive" services of anyone on their policy, including minor children, even though the policy owner is financially responsible for the services. These "sensitive" services include abortions, sexual assault treatment, drug abuse and mental health treatment, cross-sex hormones, and puberty blockers.
In California, minors can consent to all of these sensitive treatments, except for sex-change surgeries, after the age of 12 under certain conditions, and consent to abortions at any age. Authored by state Assemblyman David Chiu, a Democrat from San Francisco, the legislation requires insurance companies in California to automatically keep certain medical procedures confidential — including abortions.
Chiu said the bill is important now because the federal Affordable Care Act lets people stay on their parent's health insurance plans until age 26.
All nine Republican members of the California Senate opposed AB 1184 and sent an unsuccessful plea to Newsom urging him to veto it.
"We should be encouraging parents and family to be involved in their children's lives, not removing them further from it," the letter read.
Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council, said the bill should have distinguished between a 25-year-old on their parent's health plan and a 12-year-old.
"Parents should be consulted before their minor children are given life-altering medical treatment," he said. "It's deeply concerning that the Legislature and the governor continue to usurp parental authority."
A Crime to Photograph, Video People Near Abortion Clinic
The other law, AB 1356, makes it a crime to film people within 100 feet of an abortion clinic for the purpose of intimidation — a law abortion rights groups believe to be the first of its kind in the country.
The Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal defense organization, opposed the bill. In a letter to lawmakers, the group said violence is "outside the bounds of legitimate political discourse regardless of who perpetrates it."
"At the same time, spirited debate must not be punished or stifled by merely re-labeling it as intimidating or threatening, based on the viewpoint of the speaker," the group wrote.
California's New Advisory 'Abortion Council'
Without directly mentioning Texas, the California governor took a swipe at the Texas Fetal Heartbeat law, which was allowed to remain in place by the U.S. Supreme Court, and cheered the establishment of an advisory abortion committee.
"California has been a leader in protecting access to sexual and reproductive rights, but as we've seen recently with unprecedented attacks on these rights, we can and must do more," Newsom said in a statement. "I applaud the establishment of the California Future of Abortion Council and look forward to its important work to advance our state's leadership on this vital issue. I'm proud today to sign these two bills..."
The laws, coupled with Newsom's comments, have only intensified the political rivalry between the nation's two most populous states. California and Texas have become bastions of their respective political ideologies, with each state carving out opposing positions on issues including health care, immigration, and the environment.
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