PORTLAND, Ore. — The Democratic governors of California, Washington and Oregon on Friday vowed to protect reproductive rights and help women who travel to the West Coast seeking abortions following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The three states are building a “West Coast offense” to protect patients’ access to reproductive care, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a video statement announcing the plans along with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
The states issued a joint “ multi-state commitment,” saying they will work together to defend patients and medical professionals providing reproductive health care.
They also pledged to “protect against judicial and local law enforcement cooperation with out-of-state investigations, inquiries and arrests” regarding abortions performed in their states.
The liberal West Coast states anticipate an influx of people seeking abortions, especially as neighboring conservative states move to outlaw or greatly restrict the procedure.
“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,” Inslee said in a statement. “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.”
In California, Democrats who control state government have spent the past year preparing for a post-Roe world. It started in September, when Newsom declared California a “reproductive freedom state” and established a group of abortion rights’ activists to examine California’s abortion laws and figure out how to strengthen them.
The result was a package of 13 bills moving through the Legislature this year. Newsom will likely sign one of them into law Friday, a measure aimed at shielding abortion providers and volunteers from civil judgements imposed by out-of-state courts.
Oregon has codified the right to an abortion. State law was updated in 2017 and allows for late-term abortion and requires private medical insurance and state Medicaid to cover the procedure. A $15 million fund established by state lawmakers this year covers costs for abortion providers and patients without insurance coverage or traveling from out of state.
The fund also seeks to expand abortion access in Oregon’s rural communities.
“No matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon…