SACRAMENTO, Calif. (NEWSnet/AP) — Doctors in California who mail abortion pills to people in other states would be protected from prosecution under a new bill announced Friday in the state Legislature.

The bill, authored by State Sen. Nancy Skinner, would only protect doctors who are in California. Skinner said her intent is to make sure California residents who are traveling in other states or living there temporarily — such as college students — can have access to the medication known as mifepristone.

Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Vermont have proposed or passed similar laws.

Attorneys general in 20 states have warned some of the nation's largest pharmacy companies they could face legal consequences if they distribute the pill within their states.

Abortion pills have been legal in the U.S. for more than two decades and can be used up to the 10th week of pregnancy. It's now the most common abortion method in the U.S.

A federal judge in Texas is weighing whether to revoke or suspend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of the drug, a decision that would apply to all states and not just the ones who have outlawed abortions.

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