Twenty Democratic governors on Tuesday formed a coalition to defend abortion access after the Supreme Court’s June ruling overturned right to due process, giving states broad regulatory authority over the issue.
The Reproductive Freedom Coalition, led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, would allow members to share model legislation and potential executive orders, according to a spokesman for the group. Currently, 44 states impose some restrictions on abortion or ban abortion outright, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that advocates for abortion access.
“In the face of this unprecedented assault on abortion rights by states and their advocates in the courts, we are pledging to work together to strengthen abortion firewalls across America,” the governors said in a joint statement. “This fight is not over.” ,
The governors noted that their partnership comes at a time when medication abortion has become a new battleground for groups that want to restrict abortion access. A lawsuit filed in Texas by the anti-abortion group Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine seeks to overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, the pill used in a two-drug abortion regimen.
Ahead of the ruling, state leaders have taken sides. Earlier this month, a coalition of Democratic attorneys general filed a brief arguing that revoking the FDA’s approval of mifepristone would have “devastating consequences” for women across the country. That same day, a group of Republican attorneys general filed a brief claiming that the FDA’s initial approval of abortion pills was “deeply flawed”.
The Texas judge’s ruling could have broad implications for access to medication abortion, which accounts for more than half of all abortions nationwide, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
In their statement, the governors warned that medication abortions could be “taken away” from clinics and hospitals across the country. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision had already caused confusion and a “patchwork” of laws across the U.S.
Although the coalition presents itself as nonpartisan, it consists only of Democratic lawmakers. Several members, including Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, have maintained abortion access in areas that have otherwise restricted the procedure.
Funding for the coalition comes from the California Wellness Foundation and the Rosenberg Foundation, nonprofits that often fund public health efforts.