Pennsylvania’s Austin Davis is joining 21 other Democratic lieutenant governors to form a coalition built around protecting abortion access in their states that will likely involve crafting model executive orders and legislation.
Other states joining the group include Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. The 22 states have populations totaling 165 million people.
“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.”
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 plans to share model legislation, executive orders and ways to shield health care providers from out-of-state prosecution from Republican-run states that have threatened legal action against women who seek abortions and medical professionals who offer treatment. It also 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.
One thing that the group will not do is include fundraising like the Democratic Governors Association effort for protecting reproductive rights.