FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 16, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Isabel Shepard, [email protected], (914) 588 6088

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and California Governor Gavin Newsom Among the State Leaders Championing Abortion Rights Through Funding and Legislative Action As Oasis States Prepare for an Influx in Patients

Following Justice Alito’s leaked draft SCOTUS ruling which threatened to overturn Roe v. Wade, a wave of action broke out causing everyday people to gather in the streets to protest, abortion providers and funds to prepare for a drastically new abortion landscape, and governors across the country to rise up to protect and expand abortion access. NIRH applauds these leaders for acting swiftly to help those seeking reproductive care around the country, particularly in the wake of the failed attempts by Congress to codify abortion, and the attempts of states around the country to pass draconian and restrictive legislation. 

“States are on the frontlines of abortion access, and we have already seen governors and Democratic-led state legislatures take swift action to defend our right to our own bodies,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and NIRH Action Fund. “As abortion bans cascade across our country and Americans everywhere ready for Roe to fall, it’s going to take the collective dedication of every oasis state to protect abortion rights for residents and travelers and bolster access for those who cannot afford the travel, lodging, and bills to safely obtain care. We are grateful that governors across the country have taken up the torch to protect reproductive health and we look forward to continuing to work with our allies in office to ensure the right to choose for Americans in every state.”

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have already passed statutory abortion rights protections with many more on the way; governors from Illinois to Maine, Minnesota, and Vermont have pledged to defend abortion access; states like Maryland, New York, and Oregon are allocating millions toward funding abortion procedures and access; and governors in Kansas, North CarolinaPennsylvania, and Wisconsin are wielding their veto power to block antiabortion bills advanced by GOP state legislatures. In the last few months, the following governors are among those who have taken further action to guarantee access to abortion and reproductive health (in alphabetical order by state):

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on May 11th a new proposal for the state to give $40 million worth of grants to abortion clinics to help offset abortions in the state that aren’t covered by private health insurance or Medicaid. Governor Newsom additionally announced plans to spend $15 million on a public education campaign, $1 million to create a website listing available abortion services in California and $1 million for research into “unmet needs for access to reproductive health care services” in the State. Newsom’s funding plan comes on the heels of his announcement on May 3rd that the state will propose an amendment to ‘enshrine the right to choose’ in the state’s constitution. Earlier in the year, Newsom also signed into law legislation to eliminate out-of-pcoket costs abortion services by banning private insurance plans from charging co-pays or deductibles for the procedure.

In Colorado, Governor Jared Polis signed into law this April the Reproductive Health Equity Act, legislation to codify the right to abortion in statute.

In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont signed into law last week a first-in-the-nation bill to protect medical providers and patients seeking abortion care in Connecticut who may be traveling from other states that have outlawed abortion. Additionally, the law will expand abortion access in Connecticut by expanding the type of practitioners who can provide abortion-related care. 

In Delaware, Governor John Carney signed a bill early May to expand the types of medical professionals who can prescribe abortion medications to include advanced practice nurses and physician assistants.

In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer filed a lawsuit in April to challenging Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with an exception for a person’s health but not for cases of rape or incest.

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy announced this week legislation to expand coverage for reproductive healthcare and abortion access. Murphy urged the passage of measures to mandate that insurance plans in the state cover abortion with no out-of-pocket costs; expand potential abortion providers to include advanced practice nurses, midwives, and physician assistants; establish a Reproductive Health Access Fund; and protect medical providers and patients who provide or receive abortion care in the state from legal recourse by states with abortion bans.

In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul announced this week a $35 million commitment to give reproductive health providers the resources they need at a time when individuals from across the country will look to New York for care. Of the funding Governor Hochul announced, $25 million will go toward a new abortion provider support fund and $10 million will be dedicated to keeping clinics safe. 

In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown in April approved $15 million to be allocated to support abortion patients, medical providers, and community advocates.

In Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law in March a bill to protect people seeking an abortion and those who aid them from legal action.

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The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) is an advocacy group that works directly with state and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and allied groups to protect and advance access to reproductive healthcare. For more than 40 years, NIRH has been partnering with communities to build coalitions, launch campaigns, and successfully advocate for policy change. NIRH’s strategy is to go on the offensive and focus on communities where change is needed, so the fabric of reproductive freedom becomes harder to tear apart.