California, Oregon and Washington have formed a pact to protect abortion access.
On the heels of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the West Coast states announced the creation of the Multi-State Commitment to Reproductive Freedom, which will allow patients from around the country to safely obtain abortion care.
The agreement also promised to put several safeguards in place in order to protect providers and people from states with anti-abortion legislation, who are getting an abortion across state lines. According to the three Democratic governors of each state, this will include protecting medical records, a push to improve education related to reproductive health care, refusing to cooperate with other states trying to investigate and/or extradite residents for criminal prosecution, amongst other measures.
“California will not stand idly by as extremists roll back our basic constitutional rights," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. "We’re going to fight like hell, making sure that all women – not just those in California – know that this state continues to recognize and protect their fundamental rights."
Newsom then went on to outline a $125 million Reproductive Health Package that would provide coverage for any uninsured person seeking an abortion, as well as grants for community-based reproductive health and justice organizations working on educational initiatives and outreach. These mandates are already in effect and will soon be joined by further support for California's clinical infrastructure for things like reproductive health services and the development of a secure medical database for providers.
Meanwhile, Oregon has already codified the right to an abortion. The state will also establish a new fund this year to cover patients without insurance, expand abortion access to the state's more rural areas and protect those coming from out of state, with Gov. Kate Brown saying that "abortion is health care, and no matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn’t turn away anyone seeking health care."
Finally, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement that Washington will remain "steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care," noting that "more than half the nation’s population now lacks safe access to a medical procedure that only a patient and their doctor can and should make for themselves." Currently, more than a dozen states are expected to enact severe restrictions or complete bans on abortion, in addition to those that already have these laws in place.
Watch Newsom, Brown and Inslee talk about the pact below.
Photo via Getty / Joseph Prezioso / AFP
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