Opponents of California’s abortion rights measure the fallacy at taxpayer expense.

“With Proposition 1, the number of abortion seekers from other states would increase even more, costing taxpayers millions.”

California together, not on Proposition 1, On its website, August 16, 2022

California Together, a campaign led by religious and anti-abortion groups, is hoping to persuade voters to reject a ballot measure that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. The group is warning that taxpayers will be on the hook for an influx of out-of-state abortion seekers.

The Democratic-controlled Legislature placed Proposition 1 on the ballot in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the ruling. Roe v. Wade. If passed, it would protect an individual’s right to birth control along with the “fundamental right to choose abortion.”

California Together’s website states: “With Proposition 1, the number of abortion seekers from other states will increase even further, costing taxpayers millions.”

The campaign raised similar cost concerns in a voter information guide that will be mailed to every registered voter before the Nov. 8 election. One prominent argument is that Proposition 1 would turn California into a “safe state” for abortion-seekers, including those with late-term pregnancies — and that would cut down on tax dollars.

We decided to take a closer look at these eye-catching statements to see how well they hold up when broken.

We reached out to California Together to find out the basis of its arguments against the move. The campaign cited an analysis by the pro-abortion rights group the Guttmacher Institute, which previously estimated that cotton wool was overturned that the number of women ages 15 to 49 whose nearest abortion provider would be in California would increase by 3,000 percent in response to the state abortion ban. Most of California’s out-of-state patients will come from Arizona because it’s within driving distance, Guttmacher’s analysis said.

California Together does not cite a specific cost to taxpayers for the initiative. Rather, it points to the millions of dollars the state has already earmarked to support abortion and reproductive health services as an indication of how much more the state will spend if the proposed amendment passes. can do

Sources reveal that people are already flocking to the state for abortion services.

Jessica Pinckney, executive director of Oakland-based Access Reproductive Justice, which provides financial and emotional support to people seeking abortions in California, said the organization saw an increase in out-of-state calls even before the high court’s ruling in June. It happened. Pinckney expects to handle more cases as more states ban abortion — regardless of the outcome of Proposition 1.

Will it cost taxpayers millions?

In its fiscal year 2022-23 budget, California pledged more than $200 million to expand reproductive health care services, including $20 million for a fund to cover travel expenses for abortion seekers. , regardless of which state they live in. In 2023, the fund will provide grants to nonprofit organizations that provide transportation and housing assistance to women.

However, none of those costs are tied to Proposition 1, said Carolyn Chu, chief deputy legislative analyst for the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. It’s already budgeted for and will be eliminated next year regardless of what happens with the ballot measure.

Finally, the Legislative Analyst’s Office found “no direct fiscal impact” if Proposition 1 passed because Californians already have abortion protections. And people traveling from out of state don’t qualify for state-subsidized health programs, such as Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, Chu added in an interview. “If people travel to California for services, including abortion, that doesn’t mean they qualify for Medi-Cal,” she said.

Still, opponents of Proposition 1 see the cost argument differently.

Richard Temple, a campaign strategist for California Together, said a “no” vote would send lawmakers a mandate to freeze the support fund. “Defeat Proposition 1, and you send a loud signal to the Legislature and the governor that you don’t want to pay those kinds of costs for people from outside,” Temple said.

What about the influx of abortion seekers?

A key element of California Together’s argument revolves around the idea that California will become a haven for abortion seekers. Opponents claim that Proposition 1 opens the door to new legal interpretation of the state’s reproductive privacy law. Currently, that law allows abortion, usually around the 24th week of pregnancy, or later to protect the patient’s life or health.

One of the arguments put forth in the Voters’ Guide against the constitutional amendment is that it would allow all late-term abortions “even when the mother’s life is not in danger, even when a healthy baby can survive outside the womb.” be.”

Because the proposal says the state can’t interfere with the right to an abortion, opponents say the current law, which bars most abortions once they’re viable, would be unconstitutional. They claim that without the restrictions, California would be pulling thousands, possibly millions, of women late in pregnancy.

Statistically, this is unlikely. The state does not report abortion statistics, but only 1 percent of abortions nationwide occur at 21 weeks or later, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Whether there will be a new interpretation if Proposition 1 passes is up for debate.

UCLA law professor Carrie Franklin, who specializes in reproductive rights, said that just because Proposition 1 establishes a general right to abortion does not mean that all abortions will become legal. Constitutional language is always broad, and statutes and regulations may limit these rights. For example, he said, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants the right to bear arms, but laws and regulations prevent children from buying guns.

“The amendment does not change any of that law,” Franklin said.

But the current law was written and interpreted under California’s existing constitution, which does not have an express right to abortion, said Tom Campbell, a former lawmaker who teaches law at Chapman University. If Proposition 1 passes, the courts may interpret things differently. “Any state restrictions on abortion will have to be reconsidered,” Campbell said.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office concluded that “whether the Court could interpret the proposal to extend reproductive rights beyond existing law remains unclear.”

California voters will have their say soon.

Polling found broad support for the constitutional amendment. An August poll by the Berkeley IGS Poll found that 71% of voters would vote “yes” on Proposition 1. A September poll by the Public Policy Institute of California estimated support at 69%.

Our order

California Together warned voters: “With Proposition 1, the number of abortion seekers from other states will increase even more, costing taxpayers millions.”

Proposition 1 would protect an individual’s “fundamental right to choose abortion.”

While this could lead to more people coming to California for abortion services, it’s already happening, long before voters decide on the measure.

In addition, Proposition 1 does not allocate any new spending. So a $20 million state fund to cover travel expenses for abortion seekers would remain in place even if the constitutional amendment were adopted. The bottom line: A nonpartisan analyst found that there would be no direct financial impact to the state, and that out-of-state residents do not qualify for state-subsidized health programs.

There is speculation that Proposition 1 would expand abortion rights beyond what is currently allowed or that the state would allocate more money to out-of-state residents.

Since the statement contains some truth but ignores important facts to give a different impression, we judge the statement to be mostly false.

Sources

California Together, No on Proposition 1, “Q&A: What you should know about Prop 1,” accessed August 22, 2022

Office of the Legislative Analyst, Analysis of Proposition 1, accessed August 22, 2022

Email interview with Kelli Reid, director of client services at McNally Temple Associates, August 24, 2022

Phone interview with Carolyn Chu, Chief Deputy Legislative Analyst, Legislative Analyst’s Office, September 12, 2022

CalMatters, “California Fails to Collect Basic Abortion Data — Even as It Invites Out-of-State Access,” June 27, 2022

California Health Benefits Review Program, “Analysis of California Senate Bill 245 Abortion Services: Cost Sharing,” accessed September 12, 2022.

SB 1142, Abortion Services, accessed September 12, 2022

Phone interview with Richard Temple, Campaign Strategy for California Together, September 12, 2022

Phone interview with Kerry Franklin, professor of law at UCLA School of Law, September 13, 2022

Phone interview with Luke Cushmaro, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of the Legislative Analyst, September 13, 2022

Remarks by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sacramento, California, June 27, 2022

Public Policy Institute of California, “PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government,” accessed September 13, 2022.

California State Budget, Health and Human Services Summary Document, accessed September 14, 2022

Phone interview with Jessica Pinkney, Executive Director of Access Reproductive Justice, September 15, 2022

Phone interview with Tom Campbell, professor of law at Chapman University, September 15, 2022

SB 1301, Reproductive Privacy Act, accessed September 19, 2022

Email interview with HD Palmer, Deputy Director of External Affairs at the California Department of Finance, September 20, 2022

This story was prepared by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

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