We are explicitly providing in California’s constitution that people have a fundamental right to abortion and to use contraceptives without state interference. The conservative U.S. Supreme Court just ruled to erode decades of case law – California is protecting those rights from being eroded in our state.
The decision released shows that the right to privacy, which is in the California state Constitution, is not enough. This effort will ensure the right to abortion is explicitly protected.
Fortunately, the California economy has stayed strong and revenues have been sufficient to fund essential services and priorities. We have also been able to ensure people have access to safe, affordable abortions and families have affordable health care. This measure is a critical component to expanding access to care and will not impact other priorities.
The California State Legislature has been working on a package that will ensure there is funding and expanded access for people seeking abortions both here in California – and for people seeking care in states where abortion has been outlawed. This ballot measure is essential to solidifying California as a place where abortions are safe and accessible.
The right to an abortion is currently protected in the constitution through the right to privacy, the same as Roe v Wade, and through the Reproductive Privacy Act. However, the Supreme Court decision has shown us that the right to privacy is simply not enough anymore. This amendment will ensure that the right abortion is expressly outlined and protected for generations to come in California.
We understand that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe and Casey tramples on decades of foundational civil rights law that may be used to jeopardize other hard-won civil rights. But the case law that protects those rights does not face a direct challenge…yet. If the Supreme Court dismantles other important civil rights in the future, California will be ready.
The Supreme Court decision, while a disappointment, is not a surprise given the new makeup of the court. We knew it was likely that the fundamental tenets of Roe v. Wade could be undone and that it was something California would need to respond to. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure access to care for people who need it most. California has repeatedly led the way on important issues, such as climate and addressing the health and safety of individuals during the pandemic and we will continue do this while at the same time ensuring people and their families have access to critical abortion care and services.
The state is already taking bold action to protect abortion. In September 2021, more than 40 organizations joined together to form the California Future of Abortion (CA FAB) Council. Sexual and reproductive health care providers, reproductive rights and reproductive justice advocacy organizations, legal and policy experts, researchers, and advocates, with the support of California’s Governor and Legislative leadership, convened to identify barriers to abortion services and recommend policy proposals supporting equitable and affordable access to abortion care for Californians and all who seek care here.
In December the council released a report outlining 45 policy recommendations and a subsequent legislative package was introduced that includes 13 bills and budget proposals that are currently going through the legislative process.
Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Jodi Hicks, CEO of Planned Parenthood are leading this effort. They will be joined by the Governor, Speaker, Lt. Governor, statewide elected officials, The Women’s Legislative Caucus, reproductive freedom, healthcare organizations and other allies.
For decades, Senate pro Tem Atkins has been a leading force on reproductive rights and abortion access issues, from her early days working as a clinical services director of a women’s health care clinic in San Diego and Los Angeles, to her time in the Legislature, where she has authored critical legislation to expand and protect abortion access. She has seen first-hand what limited access to safe abortions can look like and has committed her years in public service to ensuring all people can access to critical health care.
Jodi Hicks, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California has more than 25 years of advocacy expertise and has dedicated her career to ensuring lower-income and people of color have access to affordable health care.
Senator Atkins is the lead author of the Constitutional Amendment, with Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California serving as a primary sponsor.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization puts access to safe abortions at risk for millions of people across the country. This amendment is necessary to ensure that people are making medical decisions based on science and in coordination with their health care providers, not on a political agenda.
By adding right to an abortion directly into the California state Constitution, it will ensure access to safe, legal abortions for generations to come, regardless of who is in power. People are already relying on California for this essential health care, and by pursuing this effort, we as a state are standing up and saying we have a moral obligation to help people get the care they want and are protecting that for generations to come