The governors of California, Oregon, and Washington today issued a Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives, and committed to protecting patients and doctors against efforts by other states to enforce their abortion bans in our states.
This Multi-State Commitment affirms the governors’ commitment in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision to strip away a constitutional right that has been in place for half a century, leaving abortion regulation to the states. The sweeping decision means that for patients in more than half the country, home to 33.6 million women, abortion care is illegal or inaccessible.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Over the past several years, each state has taken action to expand access to reproductive health care in preparation for just such a decision:
Oregon led the nation by passing the most comprehensive reproductive health legislation at the time. Governor Brown signed Oregon’s Reproductive Health Equity Act into law in 2017 — a first of its kind bill that expanded access to reproductive health services for all Oregonians and codified the right to an abortion into state law. Adding to that work, Oregon invested $15 million for community-based organizations to expand access to abortion across the state and provide immediate support to patients, health care providers, and community advocates, with a focus on rural communities, communities of color, and low-income communities to overcome barriers to access.
Courtesy of Gov Brown Office