The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has caused many women to seek options out of state for abortions. Several Democratic leaders nationwide announced a plan Friday that would protect patients and medical professionals from facing legal consequences in states where the procedure becomes outlawed.
Democratic governors in California, Washington, and Oregon have established a joint “multi-state commitment,” stating they will work together to preserve the rights of patients and health care providers, the Associated Press reported.
While many Republican-led states plan to restrict access or completely outlaw the practice, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, explained the importance of voting locally in November’s election.
“Democratic governors are the last line of defense against these types of extreme bills,” he said.
President Joe Biden addressed the issue on Friday by urging constituents in all states to vote in November’s election, stating that Democratic victories could hinder attempts to outlaw abortion.
“Congress must act, and with your vote, you can act,” Biden said.
In a video statement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the joint West Coast plan with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. They assured women traveling to their state for abortions would not be turned away from seeking medical services.
“No matter who you are or where you come from, Oregon doesn’t turn away anyone seeking health care,” Brown said.
As the Democratic governors prepare for an increase in abortion services, they also vowed to “protect against judicial and local law enforcement cooperation with out-of-state investigations, inquiries and arrests” regarding the practice being performed in their states.
Meanwhile, some corporations announced their plans to help employees looking to travel to other states for reproductive care.
For example, CBS News reported that Pittsburgh-based Dicks Sporting Goods’ CEO said the company would provide travel expense reimbursement for employees to access abortion services.
“We recognize people feel passionately about this topic – and that there are teammates and athletes who will not agree with this decision. However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and families are deeply personal and made with thoughtful consideration. We are making this decision, so our teammates can access the same health care options, regardless of where they live, and choose what is best for them,” President and CEO Lauren Hobart posted to her Linkedin page.
Seattle-based Starbucks echoed those sentiments by stating that employees enrolled in their health care plan would receive travel reimbursement if a legal healthcare provider isn’t available within 100 miles of their home, per the Seattle Times.
“Even though we have prepared for this scenario, personally and as a company, I know this decision leaves many of you disheartened or in shock,” said Sara Kelly, acting executive vice president, in a statement.
She added, “What we can say for sure is that Starbucks will always bargain in good faith,” Kelly said previously.
Government officials in Washington, California, and Oregon will rely on funds allocated from state budgets to cover abortion costs.
Washington Attorney General said he will work to ensure that his state “welcomes any individual who comes here to access the fundamental right to reproductive justice,” adding that he is “already working to protect medical professionals who are prosecuted in other states for providing essential health care services that are legal and protected in Washington.”
Newsom signed a bill that would protect abortion providers and volunteers in California from facing legal action against states who condemn the practice. In addition, he said the state’s budget would include $20 million over three years to help women from other states get abortions in California.
The governor also warned his constituents that conservative Supreme Court justices and Republican lawmakers “are coming after you” on issues that involve LGBTQ rights, contraception, and the environment.
“This is not just about women. This is not just about choice. It’s not just about reproductive freedom — they’re coming after you,” he said.
Oregon’s state law on abortion was updated in 2017, allowing medical professionals to terminate late-term pregnancies while requiring private health insurance providers and Medicaid to cover the procedure. This year, state lawmakers established a $15 million fund to cover abortion costs for patients without health insurance or those traveling out of state.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 ruling on Friday, ending the constitutional right to abortion for nearly a half-century after it was established in 1973, News Onyx reported.
Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion prompted Roe’s demise along with the 1992 Supreme Court decision that supported abortion rights in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. His criticism of the decision led three liberal justices to file a dissenting opinion against the ruling.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote.
The ruling will allow state representatives to set their own abortion laws. However, many states are prepared to outlaw the practice based on the decision.