State Watch

West Coast states vow to protect abortion access in multistate commitment

California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses the recent mass shooting in Texas, during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Flanked by lawmakers from both houses of the state legislature, Newsom said he is ready to sign more restrictive gun measures passed by lawmakers.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Three West Coast states signed a multistate commitment to protect abortion access on Friday after the Supreme Court ruled earlier to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington — all of whom are Democrats — vowed to expand abortion access for those seeking the medical procedure, refuse to extradite individuals to other states who receive or aide in abortion services and protect abortion providers. 

“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 commitment reads

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn half a century of settled precedent and rescind the U.S. Constitution’s protection of reproductive freedom jeopardizes safe access to reproductive healthcare across the United States.”

The governors also issued a video that featured all of them in promoting the multistate commitment, which has been described as the “West Coast offensive.”

The development shows the potentially adversarial relationship that states may begin to have with one another following fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate federal-level abortion protections. 

Some states already have “trigger” laws in place to immediately or very soon ban the medical procedure. Those bans are now effective in several states, including Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota.

A group of prosecutors have said they will not enforce the abortion bans, putting some of them at odds with laws already on the books that may determine otherwise. 

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