California is one of 20 states that has committed to protecting and expanding reproductive rights in a new coalition, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.
As part of the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, governors supporting abortion rights have vowed to work together to prevent women losing access to the procedure and other forms of reproductive health care, like contraception. Prompted by Newsom, the alliance allows governors to frequently coordinate on how to safeguard abortion rights in their states — whether that be discussing budget decisions or upcoming bills introduced in state legislatures — and collectively respond to states pushing legislation that does the opposite.
As of Tuesday morning, governors from blue and purple states have joined so far, like New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The alliance formed after the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade prompted some states to bar or limit abortions and other reproductive health care practices. An estimated 36 million women have lost access to reproductive care since the court’s decision, according to the alliance.
“In the face of this unprecedented assault by states hostile to abortion rights and their enablers in the courts, we are pledging to work together to strengthen abortion firewalls across America. This fight isn’t over,” said a joint statement by the governors, who represent almost 170 million people around the country.
The alliance builds on a multi-state commitment between the states of California, Oregon and Washington last year, when West Coast governors stated that they would collectively defend abortion care and respond to states threatening to take the procedure away.
Last year Newsom also signed off 13 abortion protection bills, including a constitutional amendment and a $125 million reproductive health package in preparation for more women to visit California for abortions. He said the alliance is a “moral obligation” and a “firewall” to protect providers and patients from attacks against abortion access.
“California has long been a leader in reproductive rights, but we can’t do it alone. We have gathered a coalition of bipartisan governors to commit to reproductive freedom, and a coalition this size — 20 and counting — has never been done before,” Newsom said in a statement.