Here comes Gavin Newsom: Once again, California is trying to bully other states.
Walgreens’ crime? The drug store chain had said it would not stock abortion pills in 21 states, following a sharply worded letter from 20 state attorneys general warning that mailing abortion drugs could violate federal and state laws. (Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach sent a separate letter to Walgreens.)
Walgreens still intends to sell abortion pills in California and 28 other states. But that’s not good enough for Newsom, a Democrat, who tweeted earlier this week: “California won’t be doing business with @walgreens—or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk. We’re done.”
Don’t forget this, because it’s a perfect example of the Left’s kicking up the culture wars a notch.
Sure, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back at Disney last year, but that was after the company took aim at a Florida bill. The Republican governor didn’t fight with Disney because of any action Disney took or didn’t take in another state.
It’s hardly the first time California has attempted to impose its policies on another state. In 2016, California passed a law banning government-funded travel to states with laws deemed discriminatory toward “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.” (One wonders if California lawmakers will realize the outdatedness of their categories and pass a new version of the bill to ban travel to states allegedly discriminating against nonbinary and two-spirit persons, etc.)
That law hasn’t exactly operated as California’s leftist lawmakers would have hoped. Initially, California banned government-funded travel to four states. Now it has banned such travel to 22 states, including Montana, where Newsom vacationed in 2022. (Apparently, discrimination can be tolerated when in the pursuit of leisure.)
It looks like California’s great boycott only spurred more such laws.
Don’t think California is content merely to interfere with other states’ laws. When it comes to kids, California is happy to act as everyone’s parent.
Last year, the Golden State passed a bill making the state a “sanctuary” for minors seeking medical treatment for gender transition.
“California courts … have the power to strip custody from parents, wherever they live, who doubt the wisdom of these experimental and irreversible procedures—if their child so much as steps foot in California,” Emilie Kao, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, and Jay Richards, director of the DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation, wrote in a commentary for Newsweek. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
When does the interference end?
Clearly, California is trying to impose its will on the 21 states whose elected attorneys general have concerns about abortion drugs. Apparently, the Left is cool with colonialism again.
And don’t fall for Newsom’s rhetoric on the abortion drugs. First of all, it’s only a recent move by the Biden administration that allows so many pharmacies to distribute abortion pills. Since when it is extremist to uphold the status quo of the past two decades?
Secondly, ignore Newsom’s fearmongering talk that Walgreens’ decision puts “women’s lives at risk.” The facts simply don’t support the governor’s claim.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research and education arm of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, medication abortions, also called chemical abortions, have “a complication rate four times that of surgical abortion, and as many as one out of five women will suffer a complication.” Furthermore, the institute says, “as many as 15% of women will experience hemorrhage, and 2% will have an infection.”
Women are also more likely to go the ER after taking an abortion pill. One in 20 women who take the pill will visit an emergency room within 30 days, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
Who’s putting women’s health at risk, again?
Meanwhile, Gavin Newsom might want to focus on governing his own state. In the past two years, California’s population has dramatically shrunk.
“The California exodus has shown no sign of slowing down as the state’s population dropped by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022, with the number of residents leaving surpassing those moving in by nearly 700,000,” reported the Los Angeles Times last month. Only New York lost more people.
Clearly, plenty of Californians aren’t happy with life under Gavin Newsom—and I doubt it’s because he’s not fighting hard enough to impose leftist ideology on pro-life states.
Newsom has opened a new front in the culture wars with this move. If the new normal is for governors to try to punish corporations to get their way on policies in other states, it’s going to get ugly fast—and that’s certainly a technique conservative governors can use against blue states, too.
But when it comes to the Left’s great sacrament of abortion, clearly anything goes.
Katrina Trinko is editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal where this first appeared.