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Twenty US governors join coalition to strengthen reproductive rights

The historic move comes nearly eight months after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which led many states to ban or sharply restrict access to abortion.

(CN) — Twenty governors have joined a nonpartisan coalition launched to protect and expand reproductive rights throughout the U.S.

The Reproductive Freedom Alliance is the largest multistate coalition of its kind, where governors are expected to work together to strengthen reproductive freedom “in the face of an unprecedented assault on abortion access and other forms of reproductive health care by states hostile to abortion rights and judges who are advancing their ideological agenda,” according to the announcement.

States officially represented in the coalition include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington state and Wisconsin.

The launch of the alliance comes nearly eight months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and on the heels of several state law reforms that have outlawed abortion, such as in Idaho, South Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Alabama.

More recently, an anti-abortion group in Texas asked a federal judge to revoke the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of mifepristone — one of two drugs used in medication abortions that has been safely used by 5.6 million women for over two decades — claiming the agency rushed the process and ignored evidence of the drug being more dangerous than surgical abortions. Should the judge rule in favor of the group, access to abortions could be drastically altered through the U.S.

In an email, Laura Briggs, professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, applauded the creation of the coalition. “This is good news and speaks to the unhappy consequences of the Dobbs decision — not only dangerous and inadequate miscarriage and other reproductive health care in anti-abortion states but exacerbating the very problem the Supreme Court claimed it was going to remedy with Dobbs: A nation disrupted and divided over abortion care,” Briggs wrote.

Briggs said she hopes the governors in the alliance can help address some of the questions currently being raised about telemedicine and what happens when doctors prescribe misoprostol or mifepristone to patients who “they believe in good faith are in their states, if instead they turn out to be in an anti-abortion state.”

“The governors’ work in assembling a reproductive freedom alliance is welcome and appreciated. Yet it also underscores the dismal state we are in — efforts to limit the mobility of reproductive-aged women, reduced access to safe abortion care, threats to birth control, women going to ICUs for the aftermath of mismanaged miscarriage care and effort by more than half the states in the U.S. to impose a conservative Christian view of sexuality, family and reproduction on its population, whatever their religious beliefs,” Briggs wrote.

Major funding for the alliance will come from California Wellness Foundation and the Rosenberg Foundation, which did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

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