Jun 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

California, Washington and Oregon launch "West Coast offense" to protect abortion rights

Photo of Gavin Newsom speaking with his left hand raised
California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

California, Washington and Oregon are launching a "West Coast offense" to protect reproductive rights following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the states' Democratic governors announced Friday.

Why it matters: The three liberal states are expected to see an influx of patients seeking abortion care now that Republican-led states have enacted trigger bans.

Details: The commitment vows to set up protections against states that target medical professionals who provide abortions and patients who receive legal reproductive health care services in California, Washington and Oregon.

  • It also pledges to "protect against judicial and local law enforcement cooperation with out-of-state investigations, inquiries and arrests" related to abortions performed in the three states.
  • The three states will "[r]efuse non-fugitive extradition of individuals for criminal prosecution" related to accessing legal reproductive health care.

What they're saying: "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," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in a statement.

  • Washington, which protects patients and abortion clinic personnel from harassment outside of clinics, "remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care."
  • "Abortion is health care, and no matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn’t turn away anyone seeking health care," Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said. Oregon became the first state to codify the right to an abortion in law in 2017.
  • "We will not cooperate with any states that attempt to prosecute women or doctors for receiving or providing reproductive care," tweeted California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who signed into law Thursday a bill to protect abortion providers and patients from bans, lawsuits and penalties in other states.

The big picture: With the court's ruling to ultimately overturn the precedents that established the constitutional right to an abortion, a patchwork of state laws will now govern the procedure, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez writes.

  • Now that the Supreme Court has handed down its decision, abortion is immediately banned in Idaho, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.
  • Abortion remains guaranteed in 16 states.

Go deeper: Here's what happens now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade

Go deeper