The governors of California, Oregon, and Washington banded together for a multi-state commitment to uphold abortion rights after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which left state officials allowed to restrict abortion according to their wishes.
“California, Oregon and Washington will continue to be a safe haven for all people seeking abortions and other reproductive health care services in these states,” a press release from the office of California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom stated. As also summarized in the Friday release: “The governors of California, Oregon and Washington today issued a Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives, and committed to protecting patients and doctors against efforts by other states to export their abortion bans to our states.” Some are worried about the possibility of anti-abortion authorities in certain states going after residents who obtain abortions outside their state and the medical personnel who provide them. Although it hasn’t been enacted, there’s already been a proposal put forward in the Missouri legislature to do just that.
“California has banded together with Oregon and Washington to stand up for women, and to protect access to reproductive health care,” Newsom said. “We will not sit on the sidelines and allow patients who seek reproductive care in our states or the doctors that provide that care to be intimidated with criminal prosecution.” Fellow West Coast Democratic governors including Oregon’s Kate Brown and Washington’s Jay Inslee had similar perspectives. “Abortion is health care, and no matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn’t turn away anyone seeking health care. Period,” Brown said. Inslee also indicated officials remained on the side of those who might arrive in Washington in pursuit of reproductive health services banned in their home states. “Washington state remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care, and we will fight like hell to restore that right to patients all across the country,” Inslee said.
There have been a variety of specific legislative actions launched in each of these three states to support access to reproductive health services, including abortion. Notably, “Governor Newsom has proposed a $125 million Reproductive Health Package to expand access for women and help prepare for the influx of women seeking reproductive health care from other states,” the California leader’s office said.
All the way over on the East Coast, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker — who’s a Republican — also swiftly moved to add new protections to reproductive healthcare access in his state following the Supreme Court’s decision. Last Friday, Baker signed an executive order protecting people from outside the state who pursue reproductive health services — including abortions — in Massachusetts along with the people who provide and assist with those critical services. Among other specifics, the order specifies that the state won’t comply with out-of-state extradition requests connected to such cases. It’s disturbing in a new way that such is even an apparent possibility — the threats posed by anti-abortion state officials don’t end with the borders of their states.