Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the availability of reproductive healthcare across the U.S. has dramatically changed. Governors in California and Massachusetts have now signed measures making their states “safe havens” against anti-abortion laws elsewhere, as California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom put it.
A press release from Newsom’s office explains the threat. Discussing a bill the California governor signed Friday, that press release says: “The measure comes as lawmakers in Missouri advance a proposal to allow private citizens to sue Missouri residents who have an abortion out of state, as well as their providers and anyone who assists them in seeking an abortion.” That could potentially put people in California and other states where abortion rights remain broadly in effect in legal jeopardy without the sort of intervention Newsom launched this week. The bill Newsom signed, as that press release explains, “seeks to protect those in California from civil liability for providing, aiding, or receiving abortion care in the state.”
‘With today’s Supreme Court decision to endanger the health and safety of millions of women across the country, California must do everything it can to protect the fundamental rights of all women – in California and beyond. We know that states like Missouri are already targeting women seeking abortions in states like California where abortion remains legal. This legislation seeks to protect women and care providers from civil liability imposed by other states, and sends a clear message that California will continue to be a safe haven for all women seeking reproductive health care services in our state.’
“This is what Mitch McConnell wanted. This is what Donald Trump pursued,” Newsom added during a press conference. “This is the world we currently live in… This moment just really punctuates what is really going on in this country.” A post on Twitter from Newsom lays out mechanisms by which the new California law will function. “I just signed a bill that makes our state a safe haven for women across the nation. We will not cooperate with any states that attempt to prosecute women or doctors for receiving or providing reproductive care,” as the governor explained it.
The governor in Massachusetts who took action along similar lines this Friday is, strikingly, a Republican, meaning he’s breaking very significantly with the bulk of his party on this issue. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s action was in the form of an executive order, which — per a press release — “would protect providers who perform [targeted reproductive health] services for out of state individuals as well as individuals from out of state who seek services that are lawful in Massachusetts.” Among other specifics, Baker’s executive order blocks all Executive Department officials from helping any out-of-state probe into any person or entity over receiving or providing reproductive healthcare that remains legal in Massachusetts. The state will also be refusing — per the specifics of Baker’s executive order — to cooperate with any out-of-state extradition requests targeting individuals who “received, assisted with, or performed” reproductive healthcare services that are permitted in Massachusetts, the press release added.