LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Speaking in Los Angeles, Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday angrily condemned a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would overturn federal abortion protections under Roe v. Wade, and blasted conservative politicians he said are working to strip away reproductive rights.
He also insisted that California will remain a "beacon of hope" for women across the country seeking abortions or other reproductive health care that could be barred in other states.
During a news conference at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Newsom got emotional as he urged voters to "wake up" and recognize that basic rights are under attack.
"I think folks should be really pissed off at this moment," Newsom said.
"How about all of those women and girls raped in states where they don't even make an exception for rape? Talk about extremists. Rape and incest. That's how extreme the Republican Party is in the United States of America. You want extremism? Rape and incest they don't even make an exception. How many young women and girls, maybe someone you know and love, finds out six weeks and day later, 15 weeks a day later that they're pregnant. They don't have the ability or the money to come to another state. That's not about strengthening the family.
"I also find it just the height of perversity and absurdity that these folks ... lay claim to freedom. But perhaps more insidiously suggest that they're pro-life, when every single one of these folks that are out there trumpeting and championing this decision have consistently opposed prenatal care support. Consistently opposed child care. Consistently opposed paid family leave. Consistently opposed all things to actually strengthen the family and provide the support for someone to live their lives out loud, to support working moms. Consistently the one group of people that over and over and over again oppose all of those supports, and they claim to be pro-life? They're pro-birth. That's all this is about. It's a pro-birth party, and then you are on your own."
During his Los Angeles visit, the governor again vowed to make California a safe haven for women seeking reproductive health care, regardless of what the Supreme Court ultimately rules.
"We're not going to roll over. We will not back down," he said.
Newsom said he's instructed leaders in both the State Assembly and Senate to draft a Constitutional amendment that would specifically protection abortion rights. He wants it to pass by the end of June, so voters can ratify it in the November election.
"We will not be defeated," he says. "We will stand tall, we will stand firm and we will affirm the constitutionally protected rights of women and girls, their reproductive rights and freedoms, in California."
An amendment would take a 2/3 vote of both houses to pass. Then, voters would need to ratify it with a majority vote.
When asked if it's fair for Californians to pay for reproductive services of other states' residents, Newsom told reporters, "When people come in for care, we take care of them. Period."
But ensuring protections is different from ensuring access. That's why the state legislature will also consider 13 separate bills to increase funding, access, and safeguards for providers and women seeking abortions.
Senate Pro Temp Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said California will not back down, but double down on rights.
"This is about the lives of our sisters, daughters, granddaughters, their families," she said. "So, we will do what we need to do. Women have always done what we need to do to protect our families and ourselves."
Newsom's comments follow an emotionally charged week after the unprecedented leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn the federal abortion protections under the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling.
"We hold that 'Roe' and 'Casey' must be overruled," the document states, according to Politico, which obtained the leaked draft ruling. "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed Tuesday that the draft document is authentic, but he stressed that the ruling is still in draft form and could change dramatically, noting that a decision is not final until it is finalized and published.
Roberts also ordered an investigation into the leak of the document.
The draft ruling has set off waves of protest by pro-choice activists and elected officials nationwide, all decrying what they call an attempt to strip away women's rights that have been repeatedly upheld for nearly half a century.
Republican lawmakers have largely focused their response to the draft ruling not on its actual substance, but on the fact it was leaked.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Temecula, declared that he "will always stand for life and defend the unborn."
"But no matter one's personal views on this issue, we are all Americans, and we all share an equal stake in the integrity of the Supreme Court," Issa said. "It holds a sacred trust that is bound up in our nation's highest ideals. After (Monday's) media leak of a draft opinion, however, that confidence is deeply shaken."
But Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, a mother of five, said in a social media post that she could not understand the logic in some women's rights circles where abortion is perceived as sacrosanct since "aborting would-be daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers silences them before they even have a chance to speak a word."
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told reporters Tuesday, "The story today is an effort by someone on the inside to discredit the institution."
"Concentrate on what the news is today -- not a leaked draft, but the fact that the draft was leaked," he said.
"This has never happened in our lifetime," Newsom at the Los Angeles news conference. "They're taking away rights that have been affirmed over and over again and well established. They are taking them away. Wake up America."