Governor Gray Davis of California signed into law yesterday measures to protect women’s reproductive health by increasing clinic safety and accessibility to emergency contraception. California, which has the highest rate of anti-abortion clinic violence of any state in the nation, will now require more training for law enforcement on clinic violence and how to guard against it. The new law, a state version of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), makes attacks and threats of violence against clinics and clinic workers a state crime. In further opposition to anti-abortion activists, Davis also authorized pharmacists to provide emergency contraception. These pharmacists, however, will be subject to training courses and must be overseen by physicians.
Davis also signed legislation giving gays and lesbians more domestic partner rights. Partners, who register with the California Secretary of State, will now have more property and medical rights as well as the right to adopt a partner’s child and the right to sue for wrongful death. Although the bill faced major opposition, Davis defended his position, stating, “This bill is about responsibility, respect, and most of all, about family – and its about time.” There are already more than 16,000 registered partners in California who will benefit from this new law.