Dangerous abortion bans are being pushed through state legislatures at an alarming pace—and local and state officials from across the country are pushing back.
After Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban last week, at least two state governments announced retaliatory measures. Maryland comptroller Peter Franchot announced in a statement on Facebook that his 1,100 staffers will be prohibited from traveling to the state on official business, and that he hopes to divest the state’s $52 billion pension fund from all Alabama-based companies; Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold announced later that she, too, was halting business travel by her staff to the state.
“I obviously have no direct control over the behavior of Alabama lawmakers who would thrust their religious interpretations upon those they are paid to represent,” Franchot said. “However, I can work to ensure that Maryland’s taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize extremism.”
For Griswold’s team, which had previously attended trainings and seminars conducted by the nonprofit organization Election Center in the Alabama city of Auburn, the declaration was more than symbolic. “I will not authorize the spending of state resources in travel to Alabama for this training or any other purpose,” Griswold declared. “This is one action that I can take in response to this egregious law against women.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis echoed the sentiment in a motion filed Friday and which passed unanimously Tuesday that bans all official travel by county employees to the state of Alabama for one year. She also plans to deliver a five-signature letter to the governors and legislatures of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Utah—all states with extreme abortion bans now on the books or headed to a Governor’s desk for final approval—to call for the immediate repeal of the anti-abortion laws recently passed in those states.
“Imposition of the laws may hinge on legal changes, but the repercussions are being felt across the country in the perpetual fight for the right to equitable reproductive health,” Solis explained in the motion. “People are taking a stand nationwide—for example, people are donating to the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama and using social media as a platform to demonstrate why abortion is a human right. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Ohio’s ban on abortion. Alabama Women’s Center and the ACLU have similar lawsuits against Alabama, and other challenges are anticipated.” (Click here to learn how to help patients impacted regionally.)
It isn’t just the impact of new anti-abortion laws, which criminalize doctors and patients, that reverberate across the country—it’s also the national intent of new policies which worries Solis. “The enclave of new laws seeks to erode access to legal and safe abortion,” she declared. “Without question, this is a medieval attempt to control and limit the ability of individuals to make personal decisions about their health. It treats more than half of the population as second class.”
For Solis and her constituents with uteri, that makes this political fight personal. “Los Angeles County continues to lead in ensuring access to reproductive health,” she explained, “and that leadership must extend across state lines to maintain and enhance the constitutional right to safe and legal abortions. This right should not be determined by a person’s zip code, income level or any other factor.”