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Bill helping pay women to travel to California for abortion moves forward

The bill is part of a package of legislation aimed at making California an abortion sanctuary state.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — California is one step closer to becoming an abortion sanctuary state. 

The state Senate moved forward with a bill that would create a state-run fund to collect donations from private citizens that would help pay for women to travel to California or help pay any legal fees that they may face back home. 

The lead speaker in opposition to the bill said this bill, if passed, will create an abortion trafficking system in the country. However, the chair of the committee believes it's more important than ever to make this happen.

Cristina Garcia, chair of the women’s caucus, is the assembly co-author of Senate Bill 1142.

“We could be collecting private dollars to help fund the expenses of both traveling out of state but also paying for the medical care, legal expenses that might be accrued in there as well," Garcia said. 

It's part of a package of bills the women’s caucus is advocating for. 

“It's life and death out there," Garcia said. "I think we're talking about losing a right, but really we're talking about the fact that we have our most vulnerable community members who could be choosing an unsafe abortion that could lead to both health complications and deaths."

The bill was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday afternoon. 

Susan Arnall, vice president of legal affairs at the Right To Life League, called in on behalf of the opposition. 

“This will entice women to book free abortions through a state website, coordinate airfare and Uber costs, set up lodging, reimburse lost wages, insurance and even arrange for babysitting of all things." Arnall said. "But only for abortion - not for childbirth services.”

She asked how the state will verify a person is pregnant before paying for all their expenses.

“SB1142 may well create a huge national abortion trafficking system open to widespread abuse and fraud across state lines,” Arnall said. 

The authors of the bill were not at the hearing, but the chair of the committee Senator Anthony Portantino said he is in full support. 

“As a father of two daughters, this is important," Portantino said. "We need to make California continue to be a pro-choice state."

The bill was moved to the Suspense File. That means when a bill is predicted to cost the state at least $50,000, the bill needs to be reviewed further. It will be voted on at a separate hearing meant just for the suspense file bills on May 19. 

Advocates are seeking $20 million dollars just to start the fund. 

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