Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom is taking the fight for abortion rights to the streets.
As the fallout from the June 24 Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade continues to intensify and with midterm elections approaching, Newsom has placed billboards in states with the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation--and where anti-abortion Republican Governors are up for reelection in November.
The billboards are more than just callouts, however. They instruct people in states such as Texas and North Dakota, where Republican Governors Greg Abbott and Kristi Noem have launched all-out assaults on reproductive freedom since June 24, how to circumvent their local restrictions and access abortion healthcare in California instead.
Newsom has repeatedly used the GOP's assault on reproductive rights as a rallying cry during his reelection campaign, and the move shows an escalation that is as provocative as it is shrewd--and, you must admit, deliciously trollish.
Newsom tweeted about the move earlier today with a message of solidarity to people seeking abortion care all over the country, to thunderous applause from liberals.
\u201cNEW: Just launched billboards in 7 of the most restrictive anti-abortion states that explain how women can access care--no matter where they live. \nTo any woman seeking an abortion in these anti-freedom states: CA will defend your right to make decisions about your own health.\u201d— Gavin Newsom (@Gavin Newsom) 1663261293
"Just launched billboards in 7 of the most restrictive anti-abortion states that explain how women can access care--no matter where they live."
"To any woman seeking an abortion in these anti-freedom states: CA will defend your right to make decisions about your own health."
The billboards appear in Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas, with another set to appear in Oklahoma shortly.
Newsom shared images of all seven billboards in pointed tweets directed at the states' governors.
\u201c@GovMikeDeWine Ohio will be seeing these billboards starting today.\u201d— Gavin Newsom (@Gavin Newsom) 1663261293
The billboards all turn on similar themes. Many feature a photo of a woman in handcuffs, as seen in this Ohio billboard, along with slogans declaring that the state in question "doesn't own your body. You do."
Others, like those appearing in Mississippi and Oklahoma, simply say, "Need an abortion? California is ready to help."
\u201c@tatereeves the people of Mississippi deserve to know they have access to the care you are refusing to provide. This will be launching in your state today.\u201d— Gavin Newsom (@Gavin Newsom) 1663261293
All of the billboards direct people to https://abortion.ca.gov where people can find abortion healthcare services in the state of California.
All seven states have passed some of the most restrictive abortion bans in history following the June 24 overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Funding for the billboards came from Newsom's own reelection campaign, in which he is leading handsomely over Republican state senator Brian Dahle, who is anti-choice.Speaking with The Washington Post, Newsom explained his motivation in placing the billboards.
“I’m doing this because I’m privileged to be able to do it."
"I’m doing this because I care."
"I’m doing it because the people that support my candidacy support this. And when many heard about this, they wanted to support additional efforts like it, to be fully transparent with you."
And on Twitter, many cheered Newsom's move and hoped that it would influence people in those states to vote for Democrats in the fall.
\u201cYessir. Gavin Newsom has launched billboards in 7 of the most restrictive anti-abortion red states \u2014 plastered with women placed in handcuffs for seeking reproductive healthcare. He\u2019s using his resources to protect women\u2019s rights across the country. Gavin Newsom is a warrior.\u201d— Dash Dobrofsky (@Dash Dobrofsky) 1663261969
\u201c@GavinNewsom I'm so proud to be a Californian! Thank you Governor. \ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffd\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffd\u201d— Gavin Newsom (@Gavin Newsom) 1663261293
\u201c@GavinNewsom Thank you for being a vocal advocate for women! So proud to be a Californian. \ud83e\udef6\u201d— Gavin Newsom (@Gavin Newsom) 1663261293
\u201c@daveweigel @GavinNewsom Fantastic. This illustrates the difference between fascism vs logic based leadership. Good on Newsom.\u201d— David Weigel (@David Weigel) 1663261175
\u201cDemocratic governors offer freedom of choice and republican governors traffic humans.\u201d— Eric Garcia (@Eric Garcia) 1663262280
\u201c@GavinNewsom I love my state of CA. And, our Governor!\u201d— Gavin Newsom (@Gavin Newsom) 1663261293
\u201cWould I prefer Newsom not be gearing up for his Presidential run in 6 years and instead address the teacher shortage in CA? Yes. Do I find these trolling billboards effective and smart? Also yes.\u201d— Kuzco (@Kuzco) 1663261760
\u201cObviously not the same as sending people to other states but Newsom is waging his own red state/blue state battle today...\u201d— Noah Bierman (@Noah Bierman) 1663262355
\u201cThat's my petty, savage, FANTASTIC Governor. \ud83d\ude02 Women in restricted States- California has your back. \u2764\ufe0f\u201d— \ud83d\udc99Hookeronphonics\ud83d\udc99 (@\ud83d\udc99Hookeronphonics\ud83d\udc99) 1663261887
Newsom is so dedicated to the issue that he ran his billboard in Mississippi despite the likelihood of facing a legal challenge by the state, which subpoenaed online magazine Slate and nonprofit MayDay Health after they advertised a podcast that included information about how to obtain abortion pills, threatening to prosecute them for promoting now-illegal activity.Asked about the prospect of facing similar legal challenges, Newsom told The Washington Post "we look forward to a fight" should Mississippi decide to pursue such action.