The most populous county in the United States is taking a serious step to show that it doesn't condone state efforts to restrict access to abortion. Los Angeles County has banned official travel to Alabama for one year following the recent passage of the state's abortion ban. Alabama's new abortion law, which has not yet gone into effect, bans all abortions in the state except in cases where a mother's life is at risk — and charges doctors with felonies if they perform the procedure for any other reason, as BuzzFeed News reported.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors released a statement on May 20 to announce that it was implementing a motion prohibiting county employees from traveling to Alabama on official business in light of Alabama's abortion ban. "Today’s action implements a travel restriction for official LA County business to the State of Alabama except for emergency response, training, or assistance, or other legally-required matters where the failure to authorize such travel would seriously harm the County’s interests," the statement read. Bustle has reached out to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey's office for comment.
In the statement, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis described Alabama's abortion ban as "an act of aggression upon all of us." She also delved further into the rationale behind the county's decision.
As Solis noted in the statement:
We must stand in solidarity and in opposition against extremist and unconstitutional laws that put the health and wellbeing of families at risk. ... As such, Los Angeles County will stand against all attempts to dismantle the protections afforded by Roe v. Wade and the U.S. Constitution. Today’s vote sends a strong signal that infringing upon an individual’s rights to reproductive health and privacy are not American values.
NBC 4 reported that all four members of the county's Board of Supervisors who were present at the March 21 meeting voted in favor of the travel restriction with no comment. The board also agreed to send a letter to governors and legislative officials in multiple states that have restrictive abortion laws to establish the county's opposition to these laws and to request that state officials repeal them. NBC 4 added that Los Angeles County officials plan to send letters to state representatives in Alabama as well as Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah.
Officials in Los Angeles County aren't the first to restrict travel to Alabama following the passage of the state's abortion ban. For example, on May 16, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said on Twitter that she would prohibit her staff from traveling to the state in an official capacity.
"I’m calling for a boycott of Alabama. Until Alabama allows for safe & legal access to health care for women, I will not authorize spending of state resources on travel to Alabama ...," the secretary tweeted." The Hill reported that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he doesn't plan to implement his own travel ban to Alabama, but called its new law "an existential threat to our personal freedom."
It's apparent that the passage of Alabama's abortion ban has had significant implications. Given the extreme anti-choice nature of that law, it certainly seems possible that this may be just the beginning of a spate of official travel bans to the state.