In summary

A Senate panel this week approved legislation that would give Californians the option to buy a pro-choice license plate—a direct response to Trump efforts to strip federal funding from any medical provider who performs an abortion.

A Senate panel this week approved legislation that would give Californians the option to buy “pro-choice” license plates—a direct response to Trump administration efforts to strip federal funding from any medical provider who performs an abortion.

The bill’s author, Democratic state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara, said SB 309 reaffirms California’s support for women’s health care and choice.

“California is energized, I believe, and ready to take on the out-right cruel attacks by a Congress and an administration who have no qualms about expressing their disdain for the health and choice of women and acting upon them to try to remove their opportunities to do so,” Jackson told the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

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The bill would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a specialized license plate with a “California Trusts Women” theme. Money raised from the sale of those license plates would help fund the state’s Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment program, which provides services to $1.8 million low-income Californians.

Supporters of Planned Parenthood marching in Fresno parade. Photo by David Pradas.

Jackson said more than 3,000 Californians have pledged to buy the license plate so far.

The GOP’s failed effort earlier this year to repeal the Affordable Care Act included provisions to eliminate federal funding to any provider, such as Planned Parenthood, that offers abortions as part of their family planning services. President Trump and House Republican leaders are working to pass a revision in the House,  and yesterday it won the seal-of-approval from the Freedom Caucus of House conservatives. The new attempt still would gut federal funding for Planned Parenthood—a move that could affect a particularly broad array of health services in California.

Brian Johnston, executive director of the California ProLife Council, described the license plate bill as “intellectually dishonest,” saying “We know that calling this reproductive is in fact a code word for human abortion,” Johnston said. “There’s nothing reproductive in the act of human abortion.”

Lawmakers approved the bill by a 10-3 vote. It now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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