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States strive to protect abortion from prosecution elsewhere

PROVIDENCE, RI – Democratic governors in states where abortion remains legal are looking for ways to protect patients who travel there for procedures — along with the providers who help them — from criminal prosecution in their home states.

In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday signed an executive order to protect abortion providers and patients from extradition to states that have banned the practice. Abortions are legal in North Carolina until the fetus is viable or in certain medical emergencies, making the state an outlier in the Southeast.

“This order will help protect North Carolina physicians and nurses and their patients from cruel right-wing criminal laws enacted by other states,” Cooper said in announcing the order.

Rhode Island and Maine governors late Tuesday signed executive orders saying they will not cooperate with investigations by other states into people requesting abortions or health care providers performing them.

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Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee said women should trust their own healthcare decisions, and Democratic Lt. gov. Sabina Matos said Rhode Island must do everything possible to protect access to reproductive health care because “other states choose to challenge fundamental rights.”

Maine Democratic said Gov. Janet Mills It will stand in the way of “any effort to undermine, reverse, or completely eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine.”

On Wednesday, their offices confirmed that they were preventive protective measures and that none of the states received an inquiry to examine, pursue or deliver a provider or patient.

Their attempts to protect abortion rights come as tougher restrictions and bans come into effect in conservative states after last month Dobbs v. Jackson judgment in the US Supreme Court, The almost half a century -old hearing from Roe v. Wade picked up, which found that the right to abortion was protected by the US constitution. The problem falls to the states Many have taken steps to curb or ban abortion.

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The specific concerns of Democratic officials are rooted in a Texas law passed last year that bans abortions after fetal heart activity can be detected. The law allows any person who is not a government official or employee to sue anyone who performs an abortion or “knowingly engages in conduct that contributes or assists” in performing an abortion.

The person filing the request would be entitled to $10,000 for each abortion the subject was involved in — plus attorneys’ fees.

The US Supreme Court has so far declined to hear challenges to the Texas law.

Bernadette Meyler, a professor at Stanford Law School, said it’s not clear if judgments against out-of-state abortion providers would stand up in court, especially if they don’t advertise their services in states with prohibitions.

But she also said it’s not clear that liberal states have a firm legal basis to protect their residents from extra-state litigation.

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“They probably assume that some of the laws they are passing will not, or could not, be complied with, and they are trying to invent as much as possible to resist the effects of the Dobbs ruling. ‘ said Miller.

However, opposition to collaborating with abortion-related investigations could persist, she said. Places that declared themselves “sanctuary cities” and refused to cooperate with federal immigration investigations during the presidency of former President Donald Trump could take similar action.

Connecticut was the first state to pass legislation to protect abortion providers, patients and others from legal action by other states. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont signed it into law in May before the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade picked up.

“Consistent with the laws of Connecticut, we will oppose any attempt by any other state to criminalize or interfere with a woman’s private and lawful health care choices,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement last week.

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The Democratic governors of Minnesotanew mexico, Nevada, California And Washington and the moderate Republican governor in liberal massacetts signed all execution commands within days after deciding to prohibit cooperation with other countries that could affect access to abortions.

“Residents seeking access will be protected, providers will be protected, and abortion will remain legal, safe and accessible, period,” said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grishamwho described the order as a preventive measure.

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One of Texas’ largest abortion providers announced Wednesday that it plans to relocate its operations to neighboring New Mexico. Whole Woman’s Health announced Wednesday that it intends to build a new clinic in a New Mexico town near the state line to offer first- and second-trimester abortions.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, has passed a bill This aims to protect abortion providers and people who are looking for abortions through measures by other states. The democratic governor of Delaware signed a law Extension of abortion access with different rights for abortion providers and patients, including the residents outside the state who receive abortions in Delaware.

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Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed two bills into law on Friday which moved quickly after the verdict in the Democrat-led legislature. The new laws aim to protect the right of people from outside the state to receive abortion services within its borders and prevent the extradition of people involved in reproductive health services if charged in another state.

Murphy said he was “overwhelmingly angry” at having to sign the bills, but just as proud of it.

“These laws will make New Jersey a beacon of freedom for every American woman,” he said during a signing ceremony in Jersey City, not far from the Statue of Liberty.

In Washington state, the governor barred the state patrol from cooperating with out-of-state abortion investigations or law enforcement efforts, but noted that he had no jurisdiction over local law enforcement agencies. This was announced by the executive branch in the county around Seattle on Tuesday That the sheriff’s office and other branches of the law enforcement department will not cooperate with law enforcement of out-of-state abortion providers or patients.

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Some progressive prosecutors in the US have already explained that they will not enforce some of the most restrictive and punitive anti-abortion laws.

In New Orleans, city council members introduced a resolution Calling on local police and prosecutors to make abortion investigations and prosecutions “the lowest priority for enforcement.” City council members in Austin, Texas, another liberal city in a conservative state, have called for similar policies.

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Hannah Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that brings journalists into local newsrooms to cover undercover topics. Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Schoenbaum reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Associated Press authors Gary Robertson of Raleigh, North Carolina; Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Susan Montoya Bryan of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Patrick Whittle of Portland, Maine.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/07/06/states-move-to-protect-abortion-from-prosecutions-elsewhere/ States strive to protect abortion from prosecution elsewhere

Sarah Y. Kim

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