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Tipsheet

California Lawmakers Are Fast-Tracking An Amendment to Protect Abortion Access

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

On Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers in California moved forward with an amendment to make the California Constitution protect access to abortion in the state. 

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The Associated Press noted that the lawmakers fast-tracked the process because voters must approve the amendment for it to take effect.

A proposed amendment to the California Constitution that would explicitly ban the state from denying or interfering with abortions or contraceptives cleared two legislative committees in a single day on Tuesday, an unusually fast pace for a Legislature that many times takes two years to move a bill through its arduous process. 

Lawmakers are moving so fast because they need voters to approve the amendment before it can become law. The soonest voters could do that is November, but for that to happen the amendment must clear the state Legislature by a two-thirds vote before the end of the month.

If it does make it to the ballot this year, it has a good chance of passing. Among likely voters, 76% oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, according to an April survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The amendment reportedly says the state “shall not deny or interfere” with people’s “fundamental right to choose” an abortion. Pro-life supporters pointed out that such language could allow for almost unlimited abortion.

California already has some of the most expansive abortion laws in the country. The state uses tax dollars to pay for abortions of people on its Medicaid program, requires private insurance companies to cover the procedures without charging a co-pay or a deductible, and allows minors to get abortions without their parent’s permission.

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The amendment comes after a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health showed the justices overturning Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all 50 states in 1973.

Last fall, Townhall reported how Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he was looking to boost the state’s “abortion infrastructure” to accomodate more out-of-state patients. At the time, Texas had recently passed a “heartbeat” abortion law that banned the procedure at about six weeks gestation.

In September, Townhall reported how Newsom signed bills allowing minors to hide abortions and “transgender” healthcare from their parents. 

“The legislation will protect the privacy of patients seeking sensitive health care services, including reproductive health care, and create new safeguards to protect patients and providers from harassment,” a news release from Newsom’s office stated.

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