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California doesn't track abortion data but expects an influx of out-of-state patients

Guttmacher Institute predicts about 1.4 million women from out of state will likely rely on California's clinics.

SAN DIEGO — California doesn't keep record of abortion data even as it expects to see an influx of out-of-state women visiting for abortion services.

It is one of just three states that doesn't track abortion information, not even tracking how many people come from out of state.

"Abortion funding is rooted in reproductive justice and trusting people to make the decision for their bodies for themselves," said Jessica Pinckney, the executive director of Access Reproductive Justice.

She said her organization collects information voluntarily and individual clinics keep record of how many patients they see. 

"I think clinics, abortion funds, providers are very cognizant that people have varying comfortability levels with sharing this information," she said. "There is an innate mistrust of federal, state and local government."

She said providing less information helps patients feel more comfortable. Some abortion bans threaten felony charges against providers. Work is being done to make sure California doctors and patients who come here are protected.

"We're doing all we can to ensure they are insulated and safe from civil or criminal liability. That's one of several bills we're working on this year," said Shannon Olivieri Hovis, the director of NARAL Pro-Choice California.

Hovis said California has 16 bills in the works.

"In that package we're doing things like addressing our provider shortages, addressing our access deserts," said Hovis.

One of the bills would allow some nurse practitioners to perform abortions. Another would give legal protections to physicians practicing out of state abortions.

More than half of the states in the U.S. are expected to restrict abortion rights. Pinckney said it's difficult to predict exactly how many people will come to California for abortions.

"I think we'll start to get a sense here in the coming days and weeks," she said.

She said research at the Guttmacher Institute predicts about 1.4 million people from out of state will likely rely on California's clinics.

WATCH RELATED: California voters to weigh constitutional right to abortion (June 2022).

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