Newsom signs privacy laws for abortion patients
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two laws on Wednesday that aim to protect the privacy of abortion providers and their patients, declaring California to be a “reproductive freedom state” while drawing a sharp contrast with Texas and its efforts to limit the procedure.
One law makes it a crime to film people within 100 feet (30 meters) of an abortion clinic for the purpose of intimidation — a law abortion rights groups believe to be the first of its kind in the country. The other law makes it easier for people on their parents’ insurance plans to keep sensitive medical information secret, including abortions.
The laws, coupled with Newsom’s comments, have only intensified the political rivalry between the nation’s two most populous states. California and Texas have become bastions of their respective political ideologies, with each state carving out opposing positions on issues including health care, immigration and the environment.
That rivalry has come into focus with a new Texas law that bans abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks and before some women know they are pregnant.
It’s already illegal in California to post personal information about abortion providers or their patients online. But that law hasn’t been updated since the mid2000s, before the proliferation of smart phones with high-tech cameras that can rapidly post to social media websites.
The new law authored by state Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, a Democrat from Orinda, makes it a misdemeanor to film someone without their consent for the purpose of intimidation. Offenders can be punished by up to one year in a county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.