By Raymond Nava
While Proposition 1 is a common sense ballot measure that would codify the right to abortion in the California state constitution, it doesn’t go far enough in protecting abortion rights.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June, the right to abortion has been under attack in the United States.
Since 2002, when the California state legislature passed the Reproductive Privacy Act, abortion has been legal in the state.
The RPA added language to the state statute that women have the “fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose and to obtain an abortion.”
California is a heavily democratic state and Democrats have controlled the state legislature since the ‘90s, therefore the odds of republicans controlling the state government and outlawing abortion in the state in the near future are slim to none.
Although abortion rights have been supported by state law for many years, the overturning of Roe v Wade has spurred efforts to finally codify the right in the state.
Proposition 1 would amend the California constitution to establish the fundamental right to reproductive freedom.
The text of the amendment reads “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.”
The intent of the amendment is good, but it doesn’t answer what will happen in the event there is a nationwide ban on abortion.
If a nationwide ban were passed, it would supersede state constitutions.
Backers and writers of Proposition 1 haven’t highlighted what will happen in the event a nationwide ban is passed.
Will Proposition 1 have the state defy federal law? Is the state government prepared to fight?
These are questions that have been left unanswered.
The State Democratic Party is the biggest supporter of Proposition 1.
On the surface the push for this proposition, despite it’s goal being a righteous one, feels like political pandering since the right to an abortion in the state is still under threat.
Democrats have always run on abortion rights and now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade, Democrats have been running on the issue non-stop with the hope of retaining the House of Representatives.
There are many competitive districts in California, and this proposition will no doubt drive turnout among democrats.
The state government needs to respond to these concerns.
If a federal ban on abortion were to occur, it would be up to California whether or not this proposition would empower the state to fight or acquiesce.
Reproductive rights are constitutional rights, despite what a far right Supreme Court says.
The concerns with whether Proposition 1 will adequately protect reproductive rights are deeply concerning.
Having said that, not having the constitution amended is a guarantee that the state won’t be protected in the event of a nationwide ban.
It is for these reasons that voters should vote yes on Proposition 1, so the state has a defense in opposition of any ban.