ICYMI: Dem lieutenant governors form abortion rights alliance
March 27, 2023
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis is joining with 21 of his fellow lieutenant governors from across the country in forming a new coalition to protect and expand reproductive freedom and access to health care, according to a report in Axios.
“Every Pennsylvanian should have the right to bodily autonomy and the freedom to make their own personal decision about whether or not to have a child,” said Davis. “What we’re seeing in other states – women who have received the worst news of their lives and have then been forced to wait weeks and travel hundreds of miles to obtain abortion care, women who have nearly died because they couldn’t get necessary care, women who are being sued for helping their friends access abortion care – is precisely what reproductive justice advocates had warned would happen. Right now abortion care is safe and accessible in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Governor Josh Shapiro and I will always protect reproductive freedom.”
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22 Democratic lieutenant governors are forming a coalition built around protecting abortion access in their states that will likely involve crafting model executive orders and legislation.
Driving the news: The Reproductive Freedom Coalition — led by Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz — comes as a federal judge in Texas weighs a case that could end nationwide access to one of the most commonly used abortion pills in the U.S.
The group announced its formation on Sunday night.
- “This is an important moment. Overturning Roe v. Wade was only the beginning,” Bysiewicz said in a statement. “[T]he need to stand firm with our patients and providers is clear.”
- Among the Democratic lieutenant governors who have not joined are Kansas’ David Toland and Kentucky’s Jacqueline Coleman.
- Members include lieutenant governors from Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which have a Democratic executive branch and Republican-controlled legislatures. Vermont’s lieutenant governor is also part of the new coalition, though the state has a Republican governor.
How it works: Beyond model executive orders and bills, the group intends to maximize the availability of federal funds for reproductive health care and back manufacturers of medication abortion, according to the group’s press release.
- It won’t involve fundraising like a Democratic Governors Association effort for protecting reproductive rights.
Between the lines: 21 Democratic governors — led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) — formed the Reproductive Freedom Alliance in February, a formal structure for governors to coordinate efforts in support of abortion rights.