The council advocated that lawmakers should “improve the education pipeline by creating a California Reproductive Scholarship Corps” for those who train as physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, physician assistants, and others, if they are “dedicated to providing abortion care in underserved areas in California.” These specified medical professionals, if properly licensed, may all perform abortions under state law.
According to the abortion council, lawmakers should also “optimize loan repayment to increase retention and recruitment of clinicians who provide abortion by allocating funds for health care workforce programs.”
Domingo said that these proposals are part of the initial budget, not necessarily the final budget scheduled for May.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done. It’s our job now to advocate that it not include those things, to raise awareness and say ‘This is not a good use of California tax dollars. This is not what Californians want to be paying for’,” she said. “I’m sure many adjustments will be done along the way.”
While the state legislature has a Democratic supermajority and Newsom has made strong commitments to expanded abortion access, Domingo said there are many moderates and others in the legislature “who might look at some of these things and say it is going way too far.”
“In terms of advocacy, it’s very important to make our voice heard,” she said, encouraging grassroots involvement to voice opposition to the proposal.
Californians also need to know about resources that are “life-affirming for women in need.”
“There are so many things that can be done to help people on the ground,” said Domingo. “We would really like to make California a place where women know that they are supported, that children and families are supported all the time.”
“We want to prove that we don’t need abortion expansion in California,” she said. In her view, California should aspire to be a place that “respects women, welcomes children, and protects families.”
The proposed budget would also remove requirements for follow-up visits and ultrasound for chemical abortions that currently apply under MediCal, the state’s Medicaid program for low-income individuals. Backers of abortion have stressed the importance of flexibility in medication abortion given the limits of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week the California Catholic Conference criticized this aspect of the budget and other efforts to expand abortion access.
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“The California Catholic Conference is disappointed and is actively advocating against the Governor’s planned $61 million in additional funding for abortion facilities based on the recommendations of the California Future of Abortion Council report,” the conference said Jan. 14.
Other budget proposals include $20 million in one-time funding for the state’s Department of Health Care Access and Information “to assist reproductive health care facilities in securing their physical and information technology infrastructure and to enhance facility security.” Still another $20 million would back the Covered California state health insurance marketplace’s one-dollar health care premium subsidy due to federal policy limiting abortion coverage.
While Domingo praised efforts to expand health care access, she said that MediCal gives full coverage of abortion and contraception, gender reassignment surgery, and assisted suicide.
“They’re funding all the really good stuff but also the really bad stuff,” she said.
Many in the immigrant community do not want this, according to Domingo.
“We’re in a situation where, particularly immigrant families, are appalled that their children, who now can qualify for MediCal, have access to all kinds of things they would never want their children to access.”