UPDATED 1:00 PM PT – Thursday, May 5, 2022
California Democrats are not backing down in their push for stronger abortion rights in the state. Golden State politicians doubled down on the issue of abortion following a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to potentially overturn the landmark case Roe v. Wade.
Following Politico’s release of the court’s 98 page opinion, Democrats introduced a constitutional amendment to salvage abortion rights in California on Monday.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D), Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced the proposal following the leak. Atkins held a press conference along with other female legislators at the State Capitol in Sacramento to talk about how California can lead the way on abortion rights.
“I’m making sure that the Constitutional Amendment gets on the ballot for November,” said Atkins.
A reversal in Roe v. Wade would allow states to make their own abortion laws. Additionally, voters must approve constitutional amendments by referendum. Democrats say the amendment will go on the voting ballot for November’s midterm elections. The irony is constitutional scholars have admitted the “right to abortion” is not explicit in the United States Constitution and Atkins made it clear the “right to choose” was also not in the California State Constitution.
“California has long recognized the fundamental rights of privacy and control over one’s own body,” stated Atkins. “Now we are going to make sure that right is in our Constitution and I will be introducing a Constitutional Amendment that will make it crystal clear that reproductive rights in America are included and specifically abortion is protected.”
We’ve been here before & know where it leads. We will not step back. We will not back down.
We will make it clear that in CA, abortion is a fundamental right.
CA will always be a beacon of hope for all who need access to safe, legal reproductive care. https://t.co/uELKyzJk6G
— Senator Toni Atkins (@SenToniAtkins) May 4, 2022
The proposed amendment, if passed by the voters, would seek to make abortion a protected right. Additionally, Democrat State Representative and Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus Cristina Garcia stated the body already introduced a package of bills to be a few steps ahead in the country.
“For me it’s a matter of life and death,” said Garcia. “It’s important for California to keep enough hope for everybody and that we show access to our marginalized communities here.”
One specific bill , SB 1142, would establish California as a sanctuary state for abortion. Additionally, the measure would mandate outreach programs to inform the public where and how to access abortion services and provide state funding for those who cannot afford it themselves.
While previous radical bills have been dismissed during the committee process due to public push back and not having the votes amongst the democratic body, it remains up in the air as Democrats hold a veto proof majority in both chambers along with a majority in the State Executive Office.