(KTXL) — In the wake of the leaked draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court that could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, California lawmakers are vowing to protect abortion rights in the state.
Roe v. Wade was a 1973 historical decision from the SCOTUS that mandated abortion access nationwide. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, access to abortion would be decided by each state.
The draft opinion does not mean that Roe v. Wade would be overturned immediately. Justices are allowed to change their votes before they announce a formal ruling, which could happen as early as June.
How accessible are abortions in California?
Currently, California’s government continues to expand access to abortion and reproductive health services. According to the American Civil Liberties Union Northern California website, the state’s constitutional laws protect Californians’ right to abortion access in case Roe v. Wade is overturned.
When it comes to health insurance, abortion care is considered basic health care under California law, meaning private insurers can’t limit or exclude coverage for abortion, according to the ACLU.
It’s also illegal for private health insurers to discriminate against people for receiving any reproductive healthcare, including abortions.
“Insurers cannot refuse to provide you with insurance because you had an abortion, nor can they change the pricing of your insurance plan,” the ACLU said.
An insurer cannot prevent someone from seeking abortion treatment but may ask for “prior authorization” to seek approval from the insurer before receiving mediation or undergoing a surgical abortion, according to the ACLU.
How would a Supreme Court decision affect access across the country?
This map from FOX40 shows that over a dozen states currently have abortion “trigger laws” which are currently unenforceable, but may go into effect if the federal law is changed.
The “trigger laws” would either limit or outlaw abortion if the SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade. Other states have put in place an abortion restriction if a fetus is six weeks old.
Some states have laws that date back before Roe v. Wade, which could be enforced if the 1973 decision is overturned.
If those states enforced anti-abortion laws, California could have a surge of out-of-state patients. California’s abortion law currently allows out-of-state residents to receive access in the state, according to the ACLU. There’s no requirement for abortion patients in California to have an address in the state.
“This means that if your home state creates barriers that prevent you from having an abortion, or if there are other reasons you prefer to have an abortion in California, you can travel to California to access an abortion,” the ACLU NorCal website said.
Because the overturn would leave the decision to states, California would continue with its current laws regarding abortion access.
A possible amendment to California’s constitution
As California lawmakers vow to protect abortion laws in the state, they also want to boost access to resources. Currently, the state Legislature is considering 13 bills regarding abortion access.
State Senate Pro tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, announced Tuesday, she will propose a state constitutional amendment to protect legal abortion in California.
The amendment will need to pass with a 2/3 vote of the Legislature by June 30 in order to be placed on the November ballot, where voters will decide if it passes.