California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed a pair of bills aimed to help minors keep ''sensitive health care services'' private, ''to protect patients and providers from harassment'' in light of recent abortion restrictions in other states.
Bill AB 1356 would increase penalties for crimes under the California Freedom of Access to Clinic Act and improves online privacy laws, while AB 1184 concerns ''ensuring [that] patient information is kept confidential if they are not the primary policyholder for their health insurance'' when seeking an abortion or gender-affirming surgery.
''California has been a leader in protecting access to sexual and reproductive rights, but as we've seen recently with unprecedented attacks on these rights, we can and must do more,'' Newsom said in a statement.
''I applaud the establishment of the California Future of Abortion Council and look forward to its important work to advance our state's leadership on this vital issue. I'm proud today to sign these two bills that demonstrate our dedication to strengthening and further protecting access to reproductive health care services in California.''
The state's nine Republican senators all opposed AB 1184, and wrote a letter to Newsom calling on him to veto the legislation.
''We should be encouraging parents and family to be involved in their children's lives, not removing them further from it,'' the letter read, according to the Washington Examiner. ''This bill, in an effort to further hide information from parents and caregivers, would put policyholders in the impossible position of being financially responsible for bills they did not incur and cannot verify as being legitimate.
"Additionally, it further limits parents' abilities to protect their children by removing them from sensitive conversations as early as 12 years old. Parents have a right to be involved in sensitive medical decisions for their young children. For these reasons, we respectfully request your veto.''
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.