Gavin Newsom’s Alabama abortion ad draws accusations of falsehoods, plagiarism

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom is riling up people on both sides of the political spectrum with an ad his Campaign for Democracy political action committee has been running in Alabama.

The ad, which we’ve previously reported on here, is titled “Fugitive,” and features two women driving from Alabama to another state, where one woman, the driver, is seeking abortion services. A police officer stops the woman and subjects her to a pregnancy test, after which she is arrested.

Abortion is illegal in Alabama at all stages of a pregnancy, and there is no exception for rape or incest.

On the right, the advertisement prompted the Alabama Republican Party to pen a letter to the bosses of TV stations running it, accusing the ad of making false claims.

“The Alabama Republican Party has received multiple complaints regarding the false nature of this advertisement. After reviewing details with legal counsel, we have concluded that it contains multiple claims designed to mislead the public and defame Republicans,” the letter reads in part.

The letter, which did not come from a lawyer, purported to serve as “legal notice of the false and defamatory nature of this advertisement” and demanded that ad be removed from the airwaves.

In a Saturday post on X, Newsom wrote that the letter meant “we must be doing something right.”

“Deny all you want, but it won’t hide the truth: you are trying to criminalize women who seek reproductive care. The AL @GOP should spend less time writing blatantly false letters to TV stations and more time understanding how their actions have severe and heart breaking consequences for thousands of women,” Newsom wrote.

Newsom’s PAC wrote its own letter to TV stations, from Campaign for Democracy Executive Director Lindsey Cobia, providing evidence for Alabama Republicans’ efforts to criminalize abortion-seeking, including a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to help a minor to seek an abortion out of the state.

“In short, then, the committee’s advertisement is completely accurate and supported by documentary evidence. The people of Alabama deserve to hear about the Alabama Republicans’ record on this issue, and the Republican Party should not be allowed to censor it solely because they understand that their policies are politically unpopular,” Cobia wrote.

But the ad isn’t just making waves on the right. It also has generated concern from a pair of independent filmmakers — Dawn Lambing and Tara Bissett — who support the right to get an abortion. In 2023, Lambing and Bissett released a 10-minute film titled “Roed,” that features (stop me if this sounds familiar) two women who are stopped by a police officer and given a pregnancy test.

The filmmakers said in a statement that they have reached out to Newsom’s campaign, requesting a credit in the ad and a public acknowledgment of their film pre-dating the ad.

The similarity was noted In a New York Times story, which prompted Cobia to issue a statement saying, “We were not aware of the film but we applaud it.”

Cobia said that the ad was “independently derived” from a common narrative idea.

That didn’t sit well with Lambing and Bissett, who wrote on the film’s website, “That felt dismissive to us, but we are still looking forward to a constructive dialogue with the campaign. After all, we are all on the same side of this very serious issue.”

“As we’ve said, we are very hopeful of having a peaceful and constructive conversation with the campaign, but until such time we ask your help in making a noise loud enough for them to hear and take artists’ original work seriously, and appropriately (and publicly) credit, acknowledge and appreciate ‘Roed.,”’ the statement reads, along with an encouragement for supporters to contact Newsom and share their opinion.


A four-sided fireplace designed by legendary Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan could soon join the list of properties recommended for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

The fireplace, located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, is one of nine locations up for consideration by the State Historical Resources Commission.

The fireplace was built in 1932, using native stone and timber. The California Federation of Women’s Clubs hired Morgan to design the fireplace “to commemorate their donation of the surrounding 106-acre property to Humboldt Redwoods State Park,” according to the California State Parks website.

Also up for consideration are four properties in Los Angeles County, one property in San Diego County, one property in Sonoma County and two properties in Ventura County.

The complete list is available here.

The commission meets this Friday, at 9:30 a.m., at the California Natural Resources Agency Auditorium in Sacramento.


“With half the world’s population poised to elect their leaders amidst a backdrop of escalating political extremism, and global temperatures hurtling towards alarming new heights, the stakes could not be higher. There is no greater authority than moral authority — and the Pope’s leadership on the climate crisis inspires us all to push further and faster.”

- California Gov. Gavin Newsom, discussing his planned trip to speak at the Vatican, via the Los Angeles Times.

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  • A mother’s lament: California should eliminate the cutoff time to file charges against sex abusers, via Joe Rubin.

  • Sacramento got an F in air quality on American Lung Association report card. Here’s why, via Jacqueline Pinedo and Sarah Linn.