Coming to Alabama: Newsom’s Abortion-Access Ad, Depicting an Arrest

A woman nervously peers into her rearview mirror as a patrolman activates his car’s lights and sirens. She is less than a mile from leaving Alabama to seek abortion services, but it’s too late: The next thing she knows, she is being handed a pregnancy test and is handcuffed.

The encounter is depicted in an unvarnished new television ad called “Fugitive.” The Campaign for Democracy, a political action committee created by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Democrat of California, produced the ad.

It will appear on Monday in Alabama, where Republicans have called for prosecuting women who travel elsewhere for an abortion. The state’s abortion ban, one of the nation’s strictest, outlaws the procedure at all stages of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape and incest.

“Trump Republicans want to criminalize young Alabama women who travel for reproductive care,” the ad’s narrator says.

The ad then shows the patrolman approaching the vehicle: “Miss, I’m going to need you to step out of the vehicle,” he says, tapping the kit on the driver’s side door, “take a pregnancy test.”

The ad is scheduled to run on broadcast and cable television, along with digital platforms like YouTube, for two weeks, according to the PAC. The cost of the ad buy was not immediately available.

Alabama’s attorney general, Steve Marshall, a Republican, has clashed with the Justice Department and abortion assistance providers over whether the state has the authority to prosecute individuals or groups that help women leave the state to have the procedure.

Last month, Republicans introduced a bill in the Alabama House that would make it a misdemeanor to harbor or transport a minor to seek abortion services.

While Republicans have seized on crossings at the southern border in their messaging, Democrats have harnessed the issue of abortion-access after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. It helped propel Democratic candidates to key victories during the midterm elections in 2022 and in races last year.

In February, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos were people with rights, casting a cloud of uncertainty over in vitro fertilization. The state later passed a law giving I.V.F. clinics criminal and civil immunity, but it did not address whether embryos have the legal status of human beings.

In another seismic ruling, the Arizona Supreme Court this month upheld an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions. The decision could have far-reaching consequences for women’s health care and election-year politics in the state, a critical political battleground.

Mr. Newsom said in a social media post at the time that California, which borders Arizona, would provide a refuge for women affected by the decision.

“Arizona wasn’t even a state — it was a territory — when this draconian abortion ban was passed,” he said. “That’s how extreme this is. California remains ready to help Arizonans access reproductive health care.”

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