California Gov. Gavin Newsom Tells Texans and Others to Go to the Golden State for Abortions

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is advertising the availability of abortions in his state.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is advertising the availability of abortions in his state. Office of the Governor of California, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
A handful of states, including Texas, now have abortion bans without exceptions for rape or incest. Using billboards in states with some of the most restrictive abortion laws, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is telling residents how they can get the procedure regardless of where they live.

His advice? Go to California.

“Just launched billboards in 7 of the most restrictive anti-abortion states that explain how women can access care – no matter where they live,” Newsom said in a Twitter post Thursday. “To any woman seeking an abortion in these anti-freedom states: CA will defend your right to make decisions about your own health.”

The California governor, who is up for reelection in November, paid for the billboards with campaign money and had them displayed in Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Oklahoma.

Newsom's social media team made sure the governors of each state knew about the billboards by tagging them on Twitter. “@GregAbbott_TX this will be launching in your state today,” Newsom wrote in a post showing an image of one of the billboards. 

“Texas doesn’t own your body. You do.” – Billboard

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The billboards going up in Texas will read: “Texas doesn’t own your body. You do.” Those going up in other states say virtually the same thing, and they all direct people to the website, which was launched earlier this week.

The website gives people information that should help them get an abortion regardless of where they live. But it essentially tells people – whether they’re a legal adult or not, and regardless of immigration status – to travel to California for an abortion if the procedure is illegal in their home state. People of any age or immigration status can get a legal abortion in California before the fetus is viable (around 22–24 weeks into a pregnancy.) The site does suggest that people double-check their state laws, as some may prevent them from traveling to get an abortion. It also provides options for how to pay for the procedure.

Texas Senate Bill 8, which went into effect last September, bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The law also lets people sue abortion providers or anyone who helps a person get an abortion in Texas after this stage of the pregnancy.

Earlier this year, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — the ruling that made abortion a constitutional right — even more anti-abortion laws went into effect, including one in Texas that makes performing an abortion a felony. In Texas, the crime is punishable by up to life in prison.

Now, there are efforts to pass a national abortion ban in the U.S. Senate.

On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina filed a bill that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. According to CNN, the bill doesn’t have a good chance of making it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

When asked for his thoughts on the bill, Texas Sen. John Cornyn told CNN: "I think there are going to be some differences of opinion. My preference is to have each state handle those issues."
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn