by Photo courtesy of Gov. Gavin Newsom's office

The Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington announced a Multi-State Commitment to strengthen reproductive healthcare the same day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion that has been in place for half a century. 

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial but expected decision to upend Roe, abortion is illegal or inaccessible for about 33.6 million people. California Gov. In response to the decision Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1666, alongside the state attorney general and state leaders, which immediately protects and expands abortion access in the state. The legislation also protects patients and health providers in California from civil lawsuits. 

“This is a dark day for our little girls and all our children, who will now come of age in a nation with fewer rights, fewer freedoms, and fewer protections than the generation before them,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said. “That is not progress. But on days like this, I’m more determined than ever to fight like hell for my daughters and yours, for all pregnant persons all those who deserve a future with more rights, more freedom, not fewer.”

The bill passed the state legislature on Thursday, aiming to shield any civil action from outside the state for anyone performing, assisting, or receiving an abortion in California, including those visiting to seek reproductive care. 

The state also introduced an amendment to the state’s constitution, adding reproductive care as a fundamental right. According to Senate President pro-Tempore Toni Atkins, who is at the forefront of a women’s legislative group that has prepared a package of legislative initiatives and measures for reproductive protections, voters will have the final say on the November ballot. 

The amendment reads: “The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. This section is intended to further the constitutional right to privacy guaranteed by Section 1, and the constitutional right to not be denied equal protection guaranteed by Section 7. Nothing herein narrows or limits the right to privacy or equal protection.” 

Newsom described himself as “pissed, resolved, and angry” as the nation dominantly has “men in positions of power and influence who believe in government mandates. They don't believe in life because if they believed in life, they would do all the things to support those.” 

“Never would this happen if men were the ones having babies – ever – and you know that, and I know that. Every damn person knows that. And that's the elephant in the room,” Newsom said. “Because women are treated as second-class citizens in this country. Women are treated as less than. Women are not as free as men. That's pretty damn sick.”

First partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom said she was outraged at the supreme court’s decision, which " has grave consequences to women’s health, safety, economic security, and our ability to thrive in the United States of America". 

“It's horrifying to think just yesterday we celebrated Tittle IX and 50 years of progress toward gender equity. Today, the supreme court has rolled back women’s rights nearly half a century. In just one week, the court has proven that guns should have more rights than women. This is insane. This is toxic masculinities at work in the highest courts in the country. Domination and control of women and women’s bodily autonomy are deeply ingrained in the patriarchy that unfortunately still rules our country.” Sibel Newsom said.

Some states have trigger laws that immediately ban abortion once Roe is overturned. The Associated Press reported that Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, and Missouri are among 13 states, mainly in the South and Midwest, that already have laws on the books to ban abortion in the event Roe was overturned.

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