Democratic Governors form Abortion Rights Coalition

February 21, 2023

Democratic governors in 20 states announced Tuesday the launch of a coalition to strengthen abortion access.

The Reproductive Freedom Alliance, led by California Governor Gavin Newsom, comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, overturning Roe v Wade and 50 years of the Constitutional right to abortion.

“We can all coalesce,” said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ahead of the announcement. She added that the Dobbs decision  “horrified” and put pressure on governors to act.

Her own state has been waging a legal battle against several conservative cities that have declared themselves “sanctuaries for the unborn” and passed ordinances restricting access to abortion clinics and abortion pills—despite the fact that New Mexico’s State Constitution “does not allow cities, counties or private citizens to restrict women’s reproductive rights,” according to Attorney General Raul Torrez.

According to the Reproductive Freedom Alliance’s organizers, the aim is to “leverage” their “national voice” in ways that include sharing legislative language as well as executive orders protecting abortion access, ways to protect abortion providers from prosecution, strategies to maximize federal financing for reproductive health care such as birth control, and support for manufacturers of abortion medication and contraceptives.

Luhan Grisham noted that by contrast to their coalition, the Republican-led state of Texas earlier this month filed a federal lawsuit, challenging guidance from the Biden Administration asserting pharmacies may not legally turn away prescriptions for abortion drugs, particularly mifepristone.

Along with deep blue states like California, the coalition also includes Democratic governors from purple states such as Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and Tony Evers of Wisconsin.

The coalition secured its initial funding from the California Wellness Foundation and the Rosenberg Foundation. Both are not-for-profits that often steer money to public health efforts focused on disadvantaged communities.

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