SACRAMENTO- (KION-TV): California state legislature has allocated $20 million in grant money for abortion care facilities across the state to help improve their physical and digital security.
On Sunday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom's office said in a tweet that they are taking steps to help protect reproductive care centers throughout the state.
"Violence against staff & facilities providing reproductive services has increased nationwide - but in CA, we are protecting reproductive care providers," the Governor's office said.
During last year's election, California voters approved an amendment enshrining the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution.
Brian Ferguson who is a spokesperson for California's Office of Emergency Services said that this is the first time that his department has made funds available for any abortion care facilities who receive threats.
“The threats we face in 2023 and beyond are no longer just physical threats," Ferguson said. "There are cybersecurity threats, and in many cases, [abortion] providers don't have the level of sophistication in terms of some of their operations.”
Some of the protection can include adding vertical barriers and gates to protect the building. Ferguson also said that facilities can add antivirus software and additional training to improve digital security.
In 2021, the National Abortion Federation tracked more than 120 assaults on clinic escorts, staff, patients and their companions, which is a major increase from 54 in 2020.
The Federation also said that suspicious packages being sent has increased significantly as well. Bill Budington, a technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that when private data is not protected, that is when you are most vulnerable.
“There's so much of an open area," Budington said. "It's almost a new ground for adversarial prosecutors in states that are against abortions to look for and to gain their own political gains.”