For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
California incumbents earn endorsement from state’s leading reproductive freedom advocacy group
Sacramento—NARAL Pro-Choice California today announced its endorsement of statewide incumbents ahead of the 2022 general election. The slate of endorsed candidates includes Governor Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Treasurer Fiona Ma, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.
NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Olivieri Hovis said:
“California is a reproductive freedom state, and this year has made it abundantly clear that we must protect and expand access in California amid countless attacks on abortion access across the country. We need state leaders who have been and continue to be unwavering in their commitment to safeguarding our most fundamental freedoms. NARAL Pro-Choice California and our nearly 300,000 members across California are proud to endorse these candidates for reelection, all of whom are proven champions who have made our state a place that unequivocally supports the freedom to decide if, when, and how to start, grow, and raise a family.”
In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom, reaffirming California’s commitment to protecting all people’s reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare. In his 2021 budget proposals, Gov. Newsom fought for pregnant people with low incomes and pregnant people of color. The governor has also signed multiple bills into law advancing reproductive freedom, including NARAL-championed bills to reduce California’s alarmingly high rates of Black maternal mortality; expand job-protected paid family leave; expand access to high-quality pregnancy and birth care; and expand abortion access to students at California’s public universities.
Governor Gavin Newsom said:
“Abortion rights are under attack across this country, but California is providing a national backstop against this assault on our constitutional rights. We aren’t just protecting reproductive freedom in this state. California is expanding access to reproductive healthcare and taking on those trying to stand in the way. I’m proud to be endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice California and to stand beside them in this important fight.”
Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis is the first woman elected to serve as California’s lieutenant governor. She has worked consistently to bolster California as a Reproductive Freedom State and advocate for women, pregnant people, and families. As a member of the University of California (UC) Board of Regents, Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis voted to protect comprehensive reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare at all facilities where UC providers and students practice. She recently formed California’s Transgender Advisory Council, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, to address issues faced by the transgender community.
Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis said:
“As the leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in our state, I couldn’t be more proud to have NARAL Pro-Choice California’s endorsement for my reelection for Lieutenant Governor. With a woman’s right to access reproductive care being threatened across the country, I am more committed than ever to doing all that we can in California to ensure that all women, no matter their financial means, have access to all reproductive health options.”
Dr. Shirley Nash Weber, California’s first Black Secretary of State, has long fought to expand and protect access to healthcare services, including reproductive health services, especially for those from communities of color who have repeatedly been left behind in our healthcare systems. She previously served on the board of Planned Parenthood, and while in the state assembly, advanced efforts to improve birth outcomes and close racial disparities in maternal and infant health.
As attorney general, Rob Bonta has supported multiple court rulings that upheld the legal right to abortion and represented Californians wrongly criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes. Attorney General Bonta led the coalition of attorney generals urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade and strike down Mississippi’s unconstitutional abortion ban in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. He has long been a champion of reproductive freedom, including authoring AB 732, the Reproductive Dignity for Incarcerated People Act, while serving in the Assembly.
Treasurer Fiona Ma is a trailblazer for women and a decades-long champion for reproductive freedom. She is the first woman of color elected to serve as State Treasurer and was the first Asian American woman to serve as California Assembly Speaker. Throughout the pandemic, she has worked to expand access to healthcare facilities, including helping to support rural clinics to remain open. During her time in the State Assembly, Ma was instrumental in passing legislation that advanced reproductive freedom and protected victims of domestic violence.
Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is a staunch advocate for expanding access to healthcare for all Californians. He led an effort with 17 state insurance commissioners to submit a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to address the unequal and unfair treatment of transgender consumers. As a state senator, Lara authored legislation to protect reproductive freedom by expanding oversight of hospital mergers and to protect a person’s right to take pregnancy leave.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has advocated for reproductive health benefits for public employees, comprehensive sex education in all public schools, and greater investment in school-based health services. As an ex-officio member of the UC Board of Regents, Thurmond recently voted to protect comprehensive reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare at all facilities where UC providers and students practice. While in the state Assembly, he introduced legislation to improve school conditions for LGBTQ+ youth.
These incumbents have earned the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice California PrivacyPAC, the statewide, nonpartisan, pro-choice political action committee leading the effort to elect champions for reproductive freedom in California. NARAL Pro-Choice California will be making additional endorsements in the coming weeks.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.