States add protections for healthcare providers who perform abortions for out-of-state residents

States where abortion remains legal are acting to legally protect healthcare providers who perform abortions and reproductive health services for out-of-state residents who live where the procedure is banned or restricted and travel to recieve services. 

California, Washington and Oregon 

Governors of the three West Coast states issued a "multi-state commitment" to protect patients and physicians from "efforts by other states to export their abortion bans to our states." The commitment comes in addition to the actions each state has taken over the past several years to protect reproductive healthcare access in preparation for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. "We will not sit on the sidelines and allow patients who seek reproductive care in our states or the doctors that provide that care to be intimidated with criminal prosecution," California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. 


Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order July 6 to protect and defend individual freedom and the privacy of Coloradans. The order states no one who is "lawfully providing, assisting, seeking or obtaining reproductive healthcare in Colorado should be subject to legal liability or professional sanctions in Colorado or any other state." In addition, the order directs the Department of Regulatory Affairs to protect people working in Colorado from any disciplinary action against a professional license for providing or seeking reproductive healthcare in Colorado or any other state and states that Colorado will not cooperate with criminal or civil investigations in other states for health decisions that are legal in the state.


On May 5, Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation into law that prevents abortion providers from being extradited to other states, bars Connecticut authorities from cooperating with abortion investigations from a patient’s home state, and allows Connecticut residents and corporations sued under another state’s abortion provision to countersue. The law takes effect July 1. 


Governor Janet Mills signed an executive order July 5 to protect providers who perform abortions and their patients. It prohibits agencies in Maine from cooperating with another state's investigation into a provider, organization or person for delivering abortion care in the state. The order also "makes clear that the governor will exercise her authority within the law to decline extradition attempts form other states pursuing criminal charges against a person for receiving or performing abortion care." 


Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order June 24 that adds a layer of legal protection for both providers who perform abortions for out-of-state individuals and those individuals from out of state seeking abortions or reproductive health services that are lawful in Massachusetts. The order protects Massachusetts providers from losing their professional licenses or receiving other professional discipline based on potential out-of-state charges. Massachusetts will not cooperate with extradition requests from other states pursuing criminal charges against individuals who received, assisted with or performed reproductive health services that are legal in the state.


Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order June 25 protecting healthcare providers in the state from other states' legal challenges if they provide reproductive health services for out-of-state residents. Minnesota is surrounded by states that currently have some type of abortion ban in place. "I will exercise my discretion to decline requests for the arrest or surrender of any person charged with a criminal violation of a law of another state where the violation alleged involves the provision of, assistance with, securing of, or receipt of reproductive healthcare services, unless the acts forming the basis of the prosecution of the crime charged would also constitute a criminal offense under Minnesota law," the governor's emergency executive order states. 

North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order July 6 that helps protect North Carolina physicians, nurses and their patients. The order directs Cabinet agencies to protect reproductive healthcare services and says they cannot require a pregnant state employee to travel to a state where there are no protections for the health of pregnant people. In addition, the order directs the Department of Public Safety to work with law enforcement to enforce a state law that prohibits anyone from blocking access to a healthcare facility. It also provides protections against extraditions for those seeking or providing reproductive healthcare services and prohibits Cabinet agencies from cooperating in investigations initiated in other states into anyone obtaining or providing reproductive healthcare. Mr. Cooper was joined by Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and state reproductive care advocates.

New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy on July 1 signed two bills to protect individuals who recieve and provide reproductive healthcare services in the state. The legislation protects providers from "New Jersey-initiated disciplinary actions based on the provision of reproductive healthcare, including abortion." It also prohibits public entitites and employees from cooperating with interstate investigations aimed at holding an individual liable for recieving or providing healthcare services that are legal in New Jersey, and prohibits licensing boards in the state from taking disciplanary action solely based on an individual's "involvement in the provision of reproductive healthcare services."

New Mexico 

On June 27, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order to safeguard providers who perform abortions for patients residing in another state from legal discipline. Under the executive order, New Mexico will not cooperate with extradition atempts from other states pursuing charges against invidiuauals "for recieving or performing reproductive services." In line with the orders in Massachusetts and Minnesota, New Mexico's order "prohibits state agencies from cooperating in another state's investigation into a person or other entitiy for receiving or delivering reproductive services." 

New York 

Governor Kathy Hochul on June 13 signed six bills into law to protect abortion rights and safeguard patients and providers from criminal charges brought upon by other states that restrict the procedure. "If a woman is wanted under criminal charges in another state, we're going to take steps to protect them from extradition," Ms. Hochul said. "We're also going to be defending abortion providers from medical malpractice and licensure issues." The legislation also allows New York residents to file suit against people who attempt to interfere with their access to reproductive care. 


Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order July 12 that allows out-of-state residents to access reproductive healthcare services in addition to protecting those who legally perform or receive abortions under state law. According to the order, Mr. Wolf can reject requests from other states to arrest or surrender a person considered to be illegally providing, receiving or assisting with abortions, unless their charges are also considered illegal under Pennsylvania law. Mr. Wolf has also vetoed three different anti-abortion bills passed by Pennsylvania's General Assembly and vowed to veto any more that come through. 

Rhode Island

On July 6, Governor Dan McKee signed an executive order protecting Rhode Island providers who provide reproductive healthcare services including abortion to individuals seeking care from another state. It protects providers from disciplinary actions that target their medical liceneses, and from out-of-state charges. Protections for out-of-state patients who seek reproductive health services that are legal in Rhode Island are also included in the order. 

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