The bill now heads to Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who has antiabortion-rights views but has not announced a position on this particular measure (Van Velzer, AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/26).
One provision in the bill aims to bar women in the state from purchasing health plans that include abortion coverage on the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) insurance marketplace. The restrictions would not apply to pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or when a pregnancy threatens a woman's life.
In addition, the bill includes a provision that would require physicians to tell women medically unproven statements about being able to reverse a medication abortion. Specifically, providers would be required to state that administering high doses of progesterone could reverse a medication abortion.
The bill also would require that physicians provide documentation to the state Department of Health Services showing that they have hospital admitting privileges (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/25).
Supporters of the coverage ban have claimed that additional restrictions are needed to prevent taxpayer funding from going toward abortions for individuals who receive tax credits to purchase coverage under the ACA. However, opponents have said that public funding already does not support such procedures (Schwartz, Reuters, 3/26).
Further, several abortion-rights supporters raised concerns about the medication abortion provision. Kathleen Morrell, a physician who performs abortions and works with Physicians for Reproductive Health, said the information a provider would have to share about reversing a medication abortion is "experimental." She added, "It's untested, and if we don't know it works then why are we doing it?"
In addition, state Sen. Katie Hobbs (D), said the provision requires physicians to provide patients with misinformation, adding, "I don't think we should be inserting that into state statute."
Meanwhile, state Sen. Kelli Ward (R), who was in favor of the bill, said the provision allows women to make informed decisions (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/26).