California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, has quietly signed a bill into law that permits abortion providers from Arizona to come into California and perform abortions. The bill, Senate Bill 233, was swiftly passed through the Democratic-controlled legislature after being introduced just a month ago. This move by California Democrats is a response to the restrictive abortion laws recently enacted in Arizona, which include a near-total ban on abortion after the 15th week, with exceptions only to save the life of the mother.

Violating this law in Arizona can result in a prison term of up to five years for doctors or healthcare providers. Although Arizona did repeal an old law banning abortion, except to save the mother’s life, it will take 90 days after the current legislative session ends for the repeal to take effect. After that, Arizona will revert to its previous restriction of banning abortion after the 15th week.

Despite the time constraints, Governor Newsom expressed his opposition to the situation in Arizona:

“Arizona Republicans tried to turn back the clock to 1864 to impose a near-total abortion ban across their state,” Newsom said in a statement, Politico reported. “We refuse to stand by and acquiesce to their oppressive and dangerous attacks on women.”

“I’m grateful for the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and all our partners for moving quickly to provide this backstop. California stands ready to protect reproductive freedom,” Newsoom added.

On his official website, Newsom emphasized that California was taking decisive action to counter Arizona’s law, stating, “In light of the uncertainty and chaos caused by the Arizona Supreme Court’s ruling, California stepped in to guarantee Arizonans that they will still have access to the necessary and rightful reproductive health care if the 1864 ban is implemented.” Democratic State Senator Nancy Skinner further highlighted that the California legislation is designed to offer Arizonans an alternative to navigate around their state’s regulations.

“With Governor Newsom’s signature on SB 233, our Arizona sisters can come to California to get the health care they need from their own doctors, who they know and rely on. And their Arizona doctors can come to California without fear of spending 2 to 5 years in prison — the penalty under Arizona’s 1864 law. Once again California has made it crystal clear for all those who need or deliver essential reproductive care: We’ve got your back,” Sen. Skinner wrote.

Arizona healthcare providers will be granted the authority by the California law to carry out abortion and abortion-related procedures within the boundaries of California until November of the current year. As stated on Newsom’s official website, Arizona doctors are required to furnish their licensing details to California clinics in order to conduct abortions in California.

“SB 233 will temporarily allow licensed Arizona doctors in good standing to provide abortion and abortion-related care to Arizona patients traveling to California through November 30, 2024. The Arizona doctors would be under the oversight of California’s Medical Board and Osteopathic Medical Board and would be required to first provide registration information to those boards before providing abortion care in California. The bill contains an urgency clause and takes effect immediately,” the website states.