Can Abortion Advocates Save Newsom?

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California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during a visit by U.S. First Lady Jill Biden at The Forty Acres, the first headquarters of the United Farm Workers labor union, in Delano, Calif., March 31, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via Reuters)

Politico reports that California governor Gavin Newsom’s allies in the abortion-rights movement are going all-in on rescuing him in his recall election, and they’re hopeful that focusing on “abortion access” will help to save him:

Fearful of widespread voter apathy, Democrats and their allies are hammering the message that a GOP governor could veto abortion-rights laws, cut funding for clinics and appoint anti-abortion agency officials, judges and senators in a state that’s long been at the forefront of making it accessible to terminate a pregnancy.

Abortion rights groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, as well as the newly formed Women Against the Recall, are phone banking, knocking on doors, posting digital ads and social media messages and holding events with Newsom and other lawmakers as ballots are mailed to voters over the next few weeks ahead of the Sept. 14 recall election.

“As much as people in California support these rights, you can see by the polls that we’ve become a little complacent about what that actually means,” Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said in a livestreamed conversation Wednesday night that was part of the organization’s anti-recall campaign.

Thus far, Planned Parenthood has contributed more than $12,000 to Newsom’s campaign, and NARAL Pro-Choice America has thrown in $10,000. Newsom appears to be more than happy to accept their help and has thrown himself headlong into the strategy: Last week he appeared at an event with Planned Parenthood and portrayed himself as a heroic defender of “reproductive rights.” This strategy might be effective especially paired with the recent negative coverage Newsom’s opponent, conservative talk-show host Larry Elder, has received, including for his opposition to Roe v. Wade.

If progressives in California, where public colleges and universities are required by state law to provide chemical-abortion pills to “pregnant persons,” are trying to help Newsom’s effort by fear-mongering about restricted “abortion access,” the governor must really be in trouble.

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