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Home / Justice Alito

State to vote on abortion as constitutional right

Come November’s midterm elections, Californians can vote to make abortion rights a part of the state’s constitution. 

The decision comes after Friday’s federal overturning of Roe v. Wade — the law allowing the nationwide right to abortion. The state Assembly voted Monday to amend Article 1 of the California Constitution, one week after the Senate passed it.

Gov. Gavin Newsom wholeheartedly supports the measure, but it doesn’t require his signature. A majority of California residents have expressed support for Roe v. Wade and are expected to vote in favor of the bill’s amendment during the midterms. If passed, the bill would explicitly state the legality of abortion and other reproductive rights, phrased as follows:

The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.

Since May’s leaked draft opinion from Justice Alito stated “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” California officials felt it necessary to include specific language in the amendment.

“California remains steadfast in the right of individuals to access abortion care,” Democrat Toni G. Atkins, president pro tempore of the state Senate, said in an interview. “That’s what we explicitly want to make sure continues to be the case, no matter who’s in office, no matter who the judge is. … I don’t want people to think we are safe here just because we have a constitution that guarantees a right to privacy — it doesn’t say abortion.”

Even without amending the bill, Gov. Newsom has been very vocal in his stance on abortion and his intentions to keep California a “safe haven” for those seeking the procedure.

“Abortion is legal in California. It will remain that way,” Gov. Newsom tweeted the day of the overturning. “We will not cooperate with any states that attempt to prosecute women or doctors for receiving or providing reproductive care.”

Cervanté Pope can be reached at cpope@heymediagroup.com

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