Newsom’s proclamation was intended as a response to pro-life laws that have been enacted recently in conservative states, which he called “extreme laws that violate the fundamental rights of women.” Liberal states have also enacted laws that end all restrictions on abortion, including partial-birth and late-term abortions. The rush to legislate coincides with renewed anticipation that the Supreme Court might overturn the Roe v. Wade precedent, now that the arrival of Justice Brett Kavanuagh means that it has a 5-4 conservative majority.
The proclamation largely reiterates California’s own existing laws protecting abortion as “reproductive freedom,” which he described as “a fundamental right for all Californians.”
Newsom also joined in a joint letter with Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee (who is also running for president) urging other states “to strengthen reproductive health laws.”
The letter reads, in part:
In the absence of federal leadership on this issue, states must step up and put in place their own protections – both in statute and in their state constitutions, and through the expansion of family planning and education – to defend every American’s right to reproductive freedom. … Roe is settled law, but newly enacted and clearly unconstitutional laws in a handful of states compel our states to act now to reaffirm longstanding commitments to safeguard the fundamental rights of women.
The word “child” does not appear in the letter, but the proclamation declares that California protects “the fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose and to obtain an abortion.”