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News / Health / Health Wire

California governor launches ads to fight abortion travel bans

By Associated Press
Published: February 25, 2024, 2:44pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday announced an advertising campaign to combat proposals in several Republican-controlled states to prohibit out-of-state travel for abortions and other reproductive care.

The multistate ad campaign and an online petition effort will launch Monday, beginning with a TV commercial about a measure under consideration in Tennessee. The so-called “abortion trafficking” bill sponsored by GOP state legislators would make it a felony offense for an adult to recruit, harbor or transport a minor to get an abortion without parental consent.

Newsom told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that similar restrictions modeled on a law that has already passed in Idaho are also being proposed in Oklahoma and Mississippi.

“The conditions are much more pernicious than they even appear,” Newsom said. “These guys are not just restricting the rights, self-determination to bear a child for a young woman. But they’re also determining their fate as it relates to their future in life by saying they can’t even travel.”

People who support the Tennessee measure say it could criminalize not only driving a minor to get an abortion, but also providing information about nearby abortion services or passing along which states have looser abortion laws.

Republican state Rep. Jason Zachary, who is co-sponsoring the proposal, has called it “simply a parental rights bill.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, anti-abortion advocates have pushed states to ban abortion and find ways to block pregnant women and girls from crossing state lines to obtain the procedure.

Idaho has already enacted a so-called “abortion trafficking” law. The first-of-its-kind measure made it illegal to obtain abortion pills for a minor or help them leave the state for an abortion without parental knowledge and consent.

Newsom, a Democrat widely seen as a future presidential candidate, said his RightToTravel.org effort will be paid for by a national political action committee he launched last spring with $10 million from his state campaign funds. The effort, dubbed, the “Campaign for Democracy,” is designed to boost Joe Biden and other Democrats and the conservative Republican agenda, he said.

Democrats and left-leaning interest groups have banked on abortion rights as a major motivator for voters in the upcoming presidential election and fight for control of Congress.

They believe supporting access to abortion can be a winning issue as the debate widens to include increasing concerns over miscarriage care, access to medication, access to emergency care and in vitro fertilization treatments. A ruling this week by the Alabama Supreme Court jeopardized future access to IVF.

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