Newsom: Democrats need a ‘counteroffensive’ in culture wars

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By MICHAEL R. BLOOD
AP political writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday accused his own political party of setbacks in the country’s culture wars and urged Democrats to launch a vocal “counteroffensive” to protect human rights. abortion in same-sex marriage.

During an appearance at a Planned Parenthood office near downtown Los Angeles, Newsom warned that the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court could unravel decades of court rulings that could redefine what it means to live in America. He said the Democratic Party had been too passive in response and called for a “counteroffensive” to protect what he called basic rights.

Earlier this week, a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggested the court’s conservative majority was set to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

“This Supreme Court is about to roll back constitutionally protected rights and don’t think for a second – don’t think for a second – that’s where they stop,” Newsom said.

“They’re coming after you,” he added. “Do you think a second same-sex marriage is safe in the United States?” He asked. “If privacy is not constitutionally protected, it opens up a whole host of problems.”

With much at stake, the liberal governor who is seeking a second term this year railed against Democrats, saying they had been largely absent as rights were eroded.

He alluded to recent battles across the country, including over a Texas law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, possibly as early as six weeks, and a law of Florida banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through ninth grade. grade.”

“Where is the Democratic Party?” He asked. “Why don’t we stand up more firmly? More resolutely? Why don’t we call it? »

“We’re sitting there 24/7 from the…misinformation and rage machine on the right,” he said. The Republicans, he added, “are winning.”

Newsom appeared to spare President Joe Biden criticism, noting that he was dealing with global crises. He said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “keeps her promises” but added that important legislation “just doesn’t come through the door” in the Senate.

California envisions becoming an abortion “sanctuary,” where reproductive rights are broadly protected and patients can travel from other states to obtain services. A proposal seeks to guarantee a right to abortion in the state constitution.

If the Supreme Court overturns the Roe decision, at least 26 states are likely to ban abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights group.

He said states that restrict the right to abortion mandate “state-sponsored birth” but fail to provide childcare and other services to these women once a child is born. .

When asked what he would say to a woman in California or elsewhere fearful of losing her right to an abortion, Newsom replied, “You matter. We care. We are here for you. We love you.”

In a year of midterm elections where the president’s party typically loses seats in Congress and with Biden’s approval ratings declining, Newsom said he hopes Democratic voters will be energized in middle of the fight for the right to abortion. California is a heavily Democratic state, but Republicans are hoping anger over rising crime rates, homelessness and inflation will help their party make inroads.

Earlier in the day, Newsom’s campaign released a new TV ad, highlighting his efforts to protect abortion rights and linking his main Republican rival, State Senator Brian Dahle, to the former president. Republican Donald Trump. He used a similar strategy against Republicans last year, when he easily survived a recall election that could have removed him from office.

“Elections have consequences and we’ve seen that with Donald Trump,” Newsom told the clinic. “Wake up America. Wake up with who you elect.

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