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West Coast states commit to reproductive freedom, unite to protect abortion access

Governors Gavin Newsom, Kate Brown and Jay Inslee hammered down that Western states will be a "safe haven" for abortion services.

WASHINGTON — Governors in California, Oregon and Washington released a video message Friday following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe. v Wade, committing to reproductive rights and access to abortions in West Coast states. 

Governors Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Kate Brown (D-OR) and Jay Inslee (D-WA) hammered down that West Coast states will be a "safe haven for all people seeking abortions and other reproductive health care services." 

"The Supreme Court has made it clear – they want to strip women of their liberty and let Republican states replace it with mandated birth because the right to choose an abortion is not 'deeply rooted in history.' They want to turn back the clock to a time when women had no right to make decisions about their own bodies, when women had to seek care in the shadows and at great danger, when women were not treated as equal citizens under the law. This is another devastating step toward erasing the rights and liberties Americans have fought for on battlefields, in courthouses and in capitols. This is not the America we know – and it's not the California way," said California Governor Gavin Newsom. "California has banded together with Oregon and Washington to stand up for women, and to protect access to reproductive health care. We will not sit on the sidelines and allow patients who seek reproductive care in our states or the doctors that provide that care to be intimidated with criminal prosecution. We refuse to go back and we will fight like hell to protect our rights and our values."

Gov. Newsom has proposed a $125 million reproductive health package in California to expand access for women and help prepare for an influx of women seeking reproductive health care from other states. 

"Abortion is health care, and no matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn't turn away anyone seeking health care. Period. Let me be clear: You cannot ban abortion, you can only ban safe abortions — and this disgraceful Supreme Court decision will undoubtedly put many people's lives at risk, in addition to stripping away a constitutional right that disproportionately affects women and has been settled law for most of our lifetimes," said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. "For all the Americans today feeling scared, angry and disappointed — for everyone who needs an abortion and does not know where they can access safe reproductive health care –– please know you are not alone, and the fight is not over."

In 2017, Oregon passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act into law, which expanded access to reproductive health services for all women in Oregon and codified the right to abortion into state law.

"The law remains unchanged in Washington state, but the threat to patient access and privacy has never been more dangerous. Even in Washington state, Republicans have introduced about 40 bills in the past six years to roll back abortion rights and access to reproductive care," said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. "The right of choice should not depend on which party holds the majority, but that's where we find ourselves. 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. Instead, law enforcement, vigilantes and judicial systems can force patients to bear the burdens of forced pregnancy and birth. Washington state remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the ability and right of every patient who comes to our state in need of abortion care, and we will fight like hell to restore that right to patients all across the country."

Governor Inslee signed the Reproductive Parity Act into law in 2018, requiring all health plans including maternity care services cover abortion and contraception. Inslee also passed the Affirm Washington Abortion Access Act, ensuring Washington care providers are prepared for out-of-state women traveling to the state for abortions. 

RELATED: Washington, Idaho officials react to SCOTUS decision on Roe v. Wade

RELATED: A look at 50 years of Supreme Court abortion decisions

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