California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed a measure into law Tuesday that will eliminate out-of-pocket costs for abortion services in the Golden State as several other states move to outlaw the practice.
Known as the Abortion Accessibility Act or SB 245, the new law prohibits health plans and insurers from imposing a co-pay, deductible, or other cost-sharing requirements for abortion and abortion-related services. California is only one of six states that require health insurance plans to cover abortion services.
The abortion industry is applauding the move to boost abortions. "Eliminating out-of-pocket cost for abortion for people with private insurance is a major step in California's commitment to being a Reproductive Freedom state - making abortion services more accessible and affordable for all people in California," Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President Jodi Hicks said in a statement.
As CBN News has reported, California is moving to dramatically expand and fund the number of abortions performed in the state. Its motivation: the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this summer. If the court overturns Roe, the issue of abortion would then be regulated by each individual state.
California is nationally known for its abortion-friendly laws and policies and is positioning itself to serve as an abortion destination for women from states that might limit abortions in a post-Roe America.
As a result, last October Gov. Newsom announced his administration's participation in the California Future of Abortion Council, which is led by state Senate President pro-Tempore Toni Atkins, Planned Parenthood, and other abortion leaders.
Now, these policymakers and abortion advocates have listed a proposed bill, AB 2223, as part of their agenda to implement a 45-point plan to "expand and protect access" to abortion in California.
Proposed Legislation Would Decriminalize Killing of Newborns
Pro-life advocates across California are warning these policymakers intend to not only codify the killing of unborn children throughout all nine months of pregnancy but to decriminalize killing newborns days or even weeks after birth.
They say new language added to the proposed legislation AB2223 would shield a mother from civil and criminal charges for any "actions or omissions" related to her pregnancy, "including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death." Although definitions of "perinatal death" vary, all of them include the death of newborns seven days or more after birth.
The bill, authored by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) and co-authored by Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), additionally protects anyone who "aids or assists a pregnant person in exercising" these rights. It also allows a woman to sue any police department or legal authority which arrests or charges her for hurting or killing her child under provisions of the bill.
The first stop for the bill is the Assembly Judiciary Committee, though legislators have yet to announce a hearing date.
California Family Council President Jonathan Keller said if this bill passes the state legislature, it will be "open season on unwanted newborns" in the state.
"For years, pro-life advocates have argued there is no moral difference between ending a child's life days before birth or days after birth. California's pro-abortion legislators now seemingly agree," Keller noted. "A political culture that justifies killing millions of children in the womb is now declaring open season on unwanted newborns. Every Californian must oppose this heinous bill."
Other legal experts who live in California also say that AB 2223 would essentially legalize infanticide in the state.
"AB 2223 is not only a pro-abortion bill – it removes all civil and criminal penalties for killing babies born alive under any circumstances," said Life Legal Defense Foundation Chief Executive Officer Alexandra Snyder. "The bill expressly authorizes any person to facilitate late-term abortions and infanticide without legal repercussions. Life Legal condemns the use of euphemisms like 'personal reproductive decisions' and 'reproductive justice' to justify and encourage the killing of babies in and outside the womb."
Pacific Justice Institute Attorney Matthew McReynolds explained the bill was not about expanding abortion rights, but is a degree of evil that a majority of Americans are against.
"California lawmakers have crossed a red line by seeking to legitimize the killing of hours-old and even week-old infants," McReynolds said. "This is not about expanding abortion rights; this is a degree of evil that the overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of how they identify politically, cannot stomach. We will be working to defeat this insane and diabolical bill."
And National Center for Law and Policy President Dean Broyles said the bill could possibly legalize the infanticide of children several weeks and even up to one year after birth.
"AB 2223 seeks to legalize the killing of babies in California after birth. Depending on how the term 'perinatal' is interpreted by the courts, this bill legalizes the infanticide of children several weeks after their birth and possibly as late as their first birthday," Broyles argued. "If this barbaric bill is enacted, there will be no criminal or civil liability for the mother or those who assist her with killing her baby post-birth."
It's worth noting that California isn't the first state to explore legalized infanticide of newborn babies.
A few weeks ago, CBN News reported Maryland introduced a bill that "decriminalizes neglecting newborns to death" using the same "perinatal death" language.
And in 2019, CBN News reported Virginia Governor Ralph Northam stated during a radio interview that doctors could decide to allow children to die after birth "if that's what the mother and the family desired."
Have you have had an abortion, are contemplating ending your pregnancy, or would like pregnancy-related resources, please click here.