In summary

Democrats in the state Senate have OK’d legislation that would give Californians the option to buy “pro-choice” license plates – a small but symbolic rebuke to GOP threats to cut federal funds to Planned Parenthood or any medical provider who performs abortions.

Democrats in the state Senate have OK’d legislation that would give Californians the option to buy “pro-choice” license plates – a small but symbolic rebuke to GOP threats to cut federal funds to Planned Parenthood or any medical provider who performs abortions.

“California’s proudly a pro-choice state,” the bill’s author, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), said in a brief debate on the matter. “We understand the importance of women being able to make their own reproductive decisions.”

Keep tabs on the latest California policy and politics news

Her bill, SB 309, would direct the Department of Motor Vehicles to offer a “California Trusts Women” specialty license plate if 7,500 orders are placed for one. More than 4,000 drivers have pledged to buy one, Jackson said.

Money raised from the sale of those plates would help fund the state’s Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment program, which helps pay for services for $1.8 million low-income Californians.

President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have targeted abortion providers as part of their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. A health care bill narrowly approved by the House in May would gut federal funding to any provider, such as Planned Parenthood, that offers abortions as part of its family planning services.

That bill is now before the U.S. Senate, and Republicans there have said they will make substantial changes. If the abortion funding provision remains intact, the effect would be widespread in California, where Planned Parenthood is a key provider of basic family planning health services.

Just one Republican lawmaker in Sacramento spoke against the license plate bill. Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine described the measure as a “racist bill” that “focuses abortion on the inner cities.”

The bill now goes to the Assembly.

Support in-depth reporting that matters

As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on the generosity of Californians like you to cover the issues that matter. If you value our reporting, support our journalism with a donation.

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

We want to hear from you

Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Gary Reed with any commentary questions: gary@calmatters.org, (916) 234-3081.