West coast governors ally to defend abortion after Roe overturn

Governors of the three West Coast states Friday announced their shared commitment to protecting reproductive freedom in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Govs. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., Kate Brown, D-Ore. and Jay Inslee, D-Wash. announced the initiative in a joint statement and video message, prompted by the belief that abortion foes will now attempt to interfere with reproductive services provided in their states.

“Red states and Republican-packed courts have rolled back the rights of Americans,” Inslee said.

“Emboldened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s leaked and now final decision, antichoice states are considering legislation to extend the effect of their laws outside their own territorial borders,” the three said in the written statement.

In what Newsom termed the “West Coast offense,” the trio declared their commitment to protect access to reproductive services.

Brown said, “We will protect patients who come to our state from any state for abortion care.” The three also pledged to protect medical professionals providing reproductive care, to protect patient privacy, and to resist intrusion out-of-state prosecutors, law enforcement or vigilantes trying to investigate people receiving abortion service in the coastal states.

In particular, the written statement promised that the governors would “refuse non-fugitive extradition of individuals for criminal prosecution for receiving legal reproductive healthcare services” in their states.

The shared commitment to protecting abortion rises from the governors’ shared belief that the decision whether or not to reproduce is a fundamental right.

“Reproductive freedom – including the choice of when and whether to have children – is foundational to a person’s autonomy, dignity, and ability to participate fully in economic, social, and civic life,” the three stated.

Twenty-two states currently have laws that could likely ban or severely limit abortion, according to an NPR report.

Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota have “trigger laws” that will take effect immediately, triggered by the overturn of Roe, according to the Guttmacher Institute. These states will ban abortion except in cases in which the mother's life is in danger.

Ten other states have trigger laws that would immediately impose further restrictions on abortion.

Indiana will likely be one of the first states to enact post-Roe abortion legislation, as Republican leaders there have called for action on the matter in a special legislative session set for July 6.

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