Democratic governors form an alliance to protect abortion rights
by Rehan Qamar
In response to consistent GOP efforts to limit abortion rights across the country, a group of 20 Democratic members announced Tuesday plans to form a coalition to protect and expand abortion access in their states. Led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Reproductive Freedom Alliance will allow governors and their staff to share best practices and affirm abortion rights. In a statement announcing the coalition, Newsom called the effort “a moral obligation” and a “firewall” to protect “fundamental rights.”
According to the Associated Press, the alliance will work together to share statutory language and orders in place to protect abortion access and those providing the services. This will allow states to implement better practices on how to ensure abortion rights are accessible and support manufacturers of abortion medication and contraceptives.
Additionally, the Reproductive Freedom Alliance will respond together to bans coming from red states and “judges who are advancing their ideological agenda.” According to The Washington Post, staff members of each governor’s office are expected to meet on a monthly basis to discuss protection efforts.
The group includes leaders of predominantly Democratic states that support abortion, including California, and battleground states, including Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. According to Axios, it expands and builds on “West Coast offense” efforts to expand abortion access as states like California, Oregon, and Washington get an influx of out-of-state patients seeking an abortion.
“As governors representing nearly 170 million people across every region of the country, we are standing with all people who believe in reproductive freedom and health care,” the governors said in a joint statement. “In the last year alone, over 36 million women have lost access to critical health care with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”
The group’s creation was prompted not only by conservatives creating and proposing new laws daily against abortion rights but a lawsuit challenging access to medicated abortion in Texas. The lawsuit is by anti-abortion groups seeking to reverse the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, one of two abortion-inducing drugs used to terminate a pregnancy.
As of this report, the majority of abortions in the U.S. are medicated, and more than 40 Republican and Democratic state attorneys general have taken sides in the lawsuit.
According to the Associated Press, the alliance funding comes predominantly from the California Wellness Foundation and the Rosenberg Foundation, non-profit organizations that invest their money on public health efforts focused on disadvantaged communities. The group is non-partisan and, while currently only comprising Democrats, would consider Republicans interested in joining, Newsom’s aides said, according to the AP.
Members of the alliance have also started working with advocacy groups that back abortion access.
“We can all coalesce,” New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in an interview ahead of the announcement. Grisham added that the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade put pressure on governors to act. “This is leveraging our strengths … to have more of a national voice.”