Live updates: Newsom signs safe haven bill as governors announce ‘West Coast offense’

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With the Supreme Court’s watershed decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, focus on one of the nation’s most divisive issues has shifted to state capitals, where Republican lawmakers are set to ban abortion in about half the states. 

But a patchwork of Democratic-led states along the West Coast are vowing to stand apart and protect abortion access.

Here's what's happening across Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada in the aftermath of the landmark ruling:

Newsom, defiant in face of ruling, signs bill promoting California as safe haven

As many other states look to roll back abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, California has been “doubling down” on its efforts to expand access to abortions in recent years, and voters will soon have the chance to enshrine those rights in the state’s constitution, Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a news conference Friday.

Newsom, who also signed the first in a series of bills aiming to promote California as a safe haven for those seeking abortions, struck a defiant tone in his opening remarks – “I'm a little less sorry than I am pissed, a little less sorry than I am resolved and angry,” the Democratic governor said – while warning that the court could soon reverse its stance on other issues.

Newsom, who has repeatedly pushed back against the policies of Republican governors in states such as Texas and Florida, was joined by top legislative leaders during the news conference in Sacramento. Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, highlighted a bill — which Newsom signed into law during the gathering — that would protect people seeking abortion care in the state from civil action started in another state.

“Those inhumane laws will not cross California borders,” Atkins said. “We will not leave women and families impacted by the fall of Roe versus Wade and the backwards, reckless policies of other states without options.”

That legislation, Assembly Bill 1666, is the first of several that could be passed into law in the coming weeks. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, said the chamber will take up a proposal next week that would allow voters to decide on the November ballot whether to enshrine the right to an abortion in the California Constitution.

“We will not go gently into the night that they are creating,” Rendon said. “We are fighting back in California.”

Attorney General Rob Bonta reiterated the court’s decision is “confirmation that we must further codify the right to a safe and legal abortion” in the California Constitution.

“Today's a sad day, and it's a dark day, but today is not the last day in this fight,” Bonta said. “Our fight for reproductive freedom marches on.”

California lawmakers are considering a total of 16 bills this year that aim to bolster abortion access in the state, according to Shannon Olivieri Hovis, the director of NARAL Pro-Choice California.

“We've put a welcome sign on the door,” Hovis said. “We are letting folks know that no matter where they're from, no matter where they live, no matter what their circumstances, they are welcome in California to access the critical abortion care that they need.”

— Tom Coulter

Newsom to announce legislation push following Roe v. Wade decision

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce a push for legislation to protect patients and health care providers against abortion bans in other states.

At 1 p.m. Friday, Newsom will be joined by other California leaders to address the next steps. The event will be livestreamed here.

In a series of tweets posted Friday morning, Newsom called the overturning of Roe v. Wade "an attack on American freedom."

After the Supreme Court ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years Friday, Newsom, alongside the governors of Oregon and Washington 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 export their abortion bans to our states.

Mayors in 11 U.S. cities vow to preserve abortion access

A collection of mayors from across the country, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, issued a joint statement Friday in support of abortion rights.

“We commit to using every tool at our disposal as mayors to stand up for women in the face of attempts to deprive them of fundamental rights – and call on our leaders in Congress and our statehouses to reverse the impacts of this decision and protect a woman's right to choose,” according to the statement.

The statement — declaring the mayors will preserve their cities as places where women and all people can make their own reproductive decision — included signatures from these mayoral offices:

  • Eric Garcetti, of Los Angeles

  • Robert Garcia, of Long Beach

  • Todd Gloria, of San Diego

  • Vicente Sarmiento, of Santa Ana

  • Paige Cognetti, of Scranton

  • Tishaura Jones,of St. Louis

  • Sam Liccardo, of San Jose

  • Lori E. Lightfoot, of Chicago

  • Libby Schaaf, of Oakland

  • Darrell Steinberg, of Sacramento,

  • Satya Rhodes-Conway, of Madison

The statement said the ruling “opens the door” to the repeal of other rights –– “including the freedom to marry the person you love free of discrimination.”

In Nevada, ruling becomes focus of U.S. Senate race

In Nevada, the Supreme Court decision arrives against the backdrop of a high-stakes U.S. Senate contest — and reproductive rights will likely be a key issue in that race.

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev, said in a series of tweets Friday that the "consequences will be swift and tragic for so many women across America.”

Cortez Masto is one of the most endangered Democrats this year in an evenly divided Senate.

“With Roe gone,” she wrote, “extremists are planning to pass a federal abortion ban if they retake the Senate. And Nevadans cannot risk my opponent Adam Laxalt — who’s celebrating today’s ruling as ‘an historic victory’ — being in the Senate for that vote.”

One of nine states that has firmly embedded Roe’s protections in state law, Nevada is largely immune from the impact of the decision.

Laxalt, a former one-term Nevada attorney general, said Friday that the Supreme Court "never had the expertise nor the authority to unilaterally legislate on abortion."

- Rio Lacanlale, Reno Gazette Journal

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops hails overturning of Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is celebrating the Supreme Court ruling overturning federal abortion protections as a “historic” move reversing an “unjust law.”

The organization, led by Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, issued a statement alongside Baltimore's Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the conference's Committee on Pro-Life Activities:

“For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of preborn children, generations that were denied the right to even be born.”

They called the ruling "the fruit of the prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless ordinary Americans from every walk of life."

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown: 'We will not stand on the sidelines

Like other elected officials across the West Coast, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took to Twitter on Friday and vowed to protect abortion access in her state.

Oregon law already contains abortion access protections granted by Roe v. Wade, including through the state's Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2017. There are no significant restrictions on abortions in Oregon that are seen in other states, such as waiting periods or mandatory parental involvement.

Abortion services are also covered under state Medicaid coverage, with state law requiring private health insurance plans to cover abortions without exclusions or limitations.

Oregon voters have also supported abortion access at the ballot box: A ballot measure in 2018 pushed by anti-abortion groups to prohibit the use of public funds on abortions was rejected 64% to 36%.

– Connor Radnovich, Salem Statesman Journal

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: State law remains 'unchanged'

On Twitter Friday morning, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wrote that state law protecting abortion rights remains unchanged in the wake of the voiding of Roe V. Wade.

"The right of choice should not depend on which party holds the majority, but that’s where we find ourselves," he wrote. "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."

What happens to abortion in California?

The constitutional right to abortion in the United States is no more. Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down its landmark Roe v. Wade precedent in a 5-4 decision, ending nearly 50 years of guaranteed abortion access for American women.

Related: How California created the nation’s easiest abortion access — and why it’s poised to go further

The historic ruling has been expected since early May, when a draft of the opinion was leaked, and was widely anticipated long before that as conservative justices tilted the court. The fight over abortion rights now returns to the states, where it played out five decades ago, with the procedure immediately set to become nearly or entirely illegal in almost half of them and several more bans likely to follow.

A billboard reading "Welcome to California where abortion is safe and still legal" stands near the intersection of Highway 111 and Bob Hope Dr. in Rancho Mirage, Calif., June 24, 2022.
A billboard reading "Welcome to California where abortion is safe and still legal" stands near the intersection of Highway 111 and Bob Hope Dr. in Rancho Mirage, Calif., June 24, 2022.

California is moving in the opposite direction, ramping up legal protections for abortion providers and pouring resources into expanding access as clinics prepare for a possible surge of patients traveling from other states to terminate their pregnancies.

Since the draft ruling leaked last month, Democrats in California and across the country have latched onto protecting abortion rights as a key issue for the 2022 midterm elections. With decades of public polling showing that a majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, it has put the party back on the offensive as it faces mounting voter dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden and withering Republican attacks over inflation and crime.

Abortion laws by state: Searchable database of state-by-state abortion limits and protections

“I hope that people are enraged,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat who ran a women’s health clinic before entering politics.

“While we feel like we have better protections here and California is different, I hope they’re enraged and they understand what’s at stake,” she told CalMatters.

- Alexei Koseff and Kristen Hwang, CalMatters

West Coast states vow to fight

SACRAMENTO – The governors of California, Oregon and Washington 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 export their abortion bans to our states, after the Supreme Court ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years Friday.

“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,’” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Friday.

“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 not the America we know – and it’s not the California way.”

After Roe: What happens to abortion in California?

More: Where the abortion fight goes from here: Roe overruled but the battle will continue

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown echoed the sentiment:

“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,” she said in the joint statement. “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.”

“The law remains unchanged in Washington state, but the threat to patient access and privacy has never been more dangerous,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “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. … 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.”

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Roe v Wade: Live updates from California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington