California Gov. Gavin Newsom is leading the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, a coalition of 20 states working together to guarantee abortion access in "the face of an unprecedented assault" by Republicans. File photo by Eric Thayer/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Twenty states led by Democratic governors announced Tuesday they are forming a Reproductive Freedom Alliance to guarantee abortion rights in the wake of Roe vs. Wade being overturned by today's Supreme Court.
The "non-partisan coalition," led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, will "work together to strengthen reproductive freedom in the face of an unprecedented assault on abortion access," according to a joint statement from the governors.
In their statement, the governors warned that medication abortion is being pulled from clinics, doctors are facing "criminal prosecution for providing care," and "extremists are trying to restrict access to contraception."
"In the face of this unprecedented assault by states hostile to abortion rights and their enablers in the courts, we are pledging to work together to strengthen abortion firewalls across America," the statement said. "This fight isn't over."
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 opinion in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. The decision eliminated the federally protected right to abortion procedures, allowing states to decide whether to continue providing abortion access.
The new coalition promised to work together to protect abortion providers, fundraise for reproductive healthcare and target other states' efforts to limit abortion access, which include abortion bans in Missouri, Texas and Alabama.
The twenty states represented in the alliance include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.
While the alliance calls itself non-partisan and welcomes more members, all of the twenty states that have joined so far are controlled by Democratic governors.
"California has long been a leader in reproductive rights, but we can't do it alone. We have gathered a coalition of bipartisan governors to commit to reproductive freedom, and a coalition this size -- 20 and counting -- has never been done before," Newsom said.
"The Supreme Court's wrongheaded decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has left more than half the people in America without access to safe abortion, and it has unleashed an unprecedented wave of new threats to reproductive health care," said Maine Gov. Janet Mills.
"This is an issue of freedom," said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. "Patients must have the freedom to make personal reproductive care decisions for themselves, without interference by activist politicians."
Funding for the Alliance is being provided by the California Wellness Foundation, with additional support from the Rosenberg Foundation.
"Defending reproductive freedom is a racial justice issue," said Tim Silard, president of Rosenberg Foundation. "The foundation is committed to reimagining policies and systems to win fundamental rights, protections and opportunities for Black, brown and immigrant communities."
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who also joined the alliance, said it stands for all Americans who should have the freedom to make their "own decisions about their own body."
"Access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare saves lives, and it's why we will fight like hell to protect fundamental rights wherever they are under attack," Whitmer said.
"Every American should be able to start a family if and when they are ready. I am proud to join this alliance and look forward to getting things done with my fellow governors," she said.