Dem governors pledge to protect abortion as neighbors add restrictions

The Illinois governor on Thursday called on the federal government to not only enact a federal law legalizing abortion nationwide but also to assist people who have to travel from their home states for access to abortion.

The prospects for such a law at the federal level appear dim. President Joe Biden has asked Congress to pass a law reestablishing abortion rights nationwide, a proposal with virtually zero chance of making any progress on Capitol Hill. The president did sign an executive order in August that directed the Department of Health and Human Services to consider ways to expand coverage for patients traveling out of state for reproductive health care.

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday at POLITICO’s event that he “wouldn’t back down” when it comes to reproductive freedom, as his state has similarly become a haven for abortion access in the South. Cooper has promised to block anti-abortion measures proposed by the Republican-led legislature, which has aimed to enact restrictions that go beyond the state’s current 20-week ban on abortion.

When asked about whether he thinks a national abortion ban, a policy item pushed by some Republicans, is possible, Cooper said “we’re just not going to let that happen.”

“We have become a critical access point in the Southeast and we need to hold the line to protect women’s health,” Cooper said. “Get politicians out of the exam room with women and their doctors.”

Cooper said he believes the majority of people in his state support abortion rights. He added that the Supreme Court’s reversal of the right to abortion access previously guaranteed in Roe v. Wade sets a new precedent.

“This court has already stripped a right that has been in place for five decades. My real concern is what’s going to happen in the Supreme Court for other kinds of constitutional rights that we have,” Cooper said. “They obviously left the door open here.”

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