Press Release

Newsom Signs Shield Law Protecting CA Health Practioners Who Provide Medication Abortion & Gender-Affirming Care to Out-of-State Patients

Gov. Gavin Newsom today signed Senator Skinner’s SB 345, a shield law that provides legal protections for health care practitioners located in California who provide or dispense medication or other services for abortion, contraception or gender-affirming care to out-of-state patients.

“An estimated 36 million women of child-bearing age now live in states that have outlawed abortion. There’s also an alarming movement of states criminalizing gender-affirming care. With Gov. Newsom’s signing of SB 345, health care providers, physically located in California, will be able to offer a lifeline to people in states that have cut off access to essential care, and be shielded from the draconian laws of those states,” said Sen. Skinner, D-Berkeley.

Under SB 345, people visiting or residing in states that have criminalized abortion or gender-affirming care will be able to contact a California health care provider via telehealth or videoconferencing and have medication shipped to them from a participating California pharmacy. California doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers would receive legal protections, as long as they are in California, from criminal and civil actions initiated in another state.

SB 345 prohibits California law enforcement, government officials, or government contractors from cooperating with out-of-state prosecutions related to abortion, contraception, or gender-affirming care. It also allows California providers and patients to bring suit in California against anyone who interferes with their right to obtain, provide or dispense health care that is legally protected in California.

SB 345 puts California on par with a handful of other states, including New York and Massachusetts, that have enacted similar shield laws since Roe was overturned. In addition, SB 345 strengthens California’s “Safe Haven” laws by adding protections for people seeking refuge from prosecution or imprisonment by another state that has criminalized abortion or gender-affirming care.

Finally, SB 345 prohibits California-based social media and tech companies from disclosing to law enforcement any private communication of patients regarding health care that is legally protected in our state. This first-in-the-nation provision is designed to avoid the tragic situation in Nebraska in which a mom was recently sentenced to two years in prison after she bought abortion pills for her teen daughter and helped bury the fetal remains in early 2022. The Nebraska case was based on private information about the mother and daughter that Facebook supplied to prosecutors.

SB 345 is supported by a large coalition of health care rights organizations and licensing boards in California, including the Medical Board of California, the Board of Registered Nursing, and the Physician Assistant Board, and is sponsored by Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Reproductive Freedom for All California, ACCESS Reproductive Justice, California Nurse-Midwives Association, Equality California, TEACH (Training in Early Abortion For Comprehensive Health Care), Equality California, and VALOR US/VALOR CA.

“The signing of SB 345 into law is a huge win for reproductive freedom and access to essential health care, including abortion care, for generations of Californians. This law extends beyond California’s borders and will help people all over the country access the health care that they need,” said Reproductive Freedom for All California Director Shannon Olivieri Hovis. “We thank Senator Skinner for her tireless work getting this bill to the governor’s desk and Gov. Newsom for signing it into law. At a time when extremist Republicans continue to enforce bans to limit access to vital reproductive and gender-affirming care, it’s more important than ever that California continues to live up to its status as a Reproductive Freedom State.”

“Across the country, access to abortion and gender-affirming care continues to be under attack by far-right politicians and extremist groups. California has a moral obligation to stand up to these hatful attacks and remain a leader in providing equitable health care access for all, including reproductive health,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “SB 345 reinforces this value — not only will it provide additional legal protections for California health care providers that offer services for abortion or gender-affirming care, but it also strengthens the state’s ‘safe haven’ laws by adding protections for people who come to California seeking refuge from draconian out-of-state laws that criminalize these essential health care services. We are grateful to Governor Newsom for signing this urgently needed bill and to one of our longstanding equality champions, Senator Skinner, for her leadership and work to enshrine these essential protections into state law.”

SB 345 takes effect Jan. 1, 2024. The legislation was part of a package of bills signed by the governor that were authored by members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, of which Sen. Skinner is chair, and sponsored by the California Future of Abortion Council (CA FAB Council).

“With SB 345, California doctors, midwives, pharmacists and others can continue to provide the essential reproductive and gender-affirming care their patients need, regardless of where their patient is located, confident that California is protecting our medical professionals from malicious prosecution,” Sen. Skinner added.


Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District and is chair of the Senate Budget Committee and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.