SF cuts contracts with anti-abortion states

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown announced Oct. 16 that beginning 2020 San Francisco will ban city-funded travel and business with companies based in 22 states that have policies restricting abortions.

Approved by the Board of Supervisors in July, the legislation applies to states that restrict abortions before the fetus is able to live outside of the womb, including so-called “fetal heartbeat” laws, according to an Oct. 16 mayoral press release.

“I want to be clear that these laws do not just limit women’s freedom — they put people who can get pregnant and their lives at stake,” said Elizabeth Newman, workplace policy and legislative director at the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, at the Board of Supervisors meeting on July 11. “Anti-abortion laws do not reduce abortion but make them more dangerous.”

San Francisco included waivers and exemptions to the law. They include emergency services, sole-source contracts, auctions with no other qualified bidders, and contracts related to public health, safety, bulk purchasing and grant agreements. 

Since January, state legislators across the country have enacted 60 new abortion restrictions, 26 of which would ban abortion in all or some cases, San Francisco supervisors said at their July 11 meeting.

Though city officials have indicated they’re aware that the tax revenue states stand to lose from San Francisco’s ban is not sufficient for them to rethink their laws, they believe that if other cities follow San Francisco’s lead, the cumulative financial pressure could change their policies, according to the Oct. 16 release.

San Francisco applied the law to Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

““At a time when reproductive rights are being attacked from Washington and state houses across the country, it is imperative that San Francisco step up and fight back,” Supervisor Vallie Brown said in a press release. “By restricting travel to states with restrictive abortion laws and that limit access to reproductive health, we are showing our commitment to women, trans men and nonbinary people in San Francisco and across the country.”