California voters to decide on abortion-rights constitutional amendment in fall

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ByLiz Kreutz via KGO logo
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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California lawmakers have approved a measure which will allow voters in the fall to decide whether to protect the right to an abortion.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- On the ballot in November, Californians will vote on whether to make abortion and contraceptive rights protected in the state constitution.

On Monday, the California State Assembly passed the constitutional amendment and it's now up to voters to decide whether it should become law.

"This constitutional amendment will enshrine in the California state constitution access to safe and legal abortion as well as contraception," said California Assembly Member Buffy Wicks, who voted in support of the amendment. "And will ensure that no court case, no federal law can supersede that if it's in our constitution."

RELATED: Which states are expected to ban abortion after Supreme Court ruling?

Following the Supreme Court's decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade, state lawmakers moved forward with their plan to solidify abortion rights in California.

Right now, the state's constitution protects the right to privacy in healthcare decisions, which has been interpreted to include abortion rights. But the amendment would make it more explicit.

The amendment says: "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."

Jonathan Keller, the president of California Family Council, a faith-based, anti-abortion rights group, called the amendment "extreme even for California."

"I think it will really be interesting because it's going to be the first time in California that anybody has had a pure up or down vote on any issue related to abortion since 2008," Keller said. "Normally everything is filtered through Republican versus Democrat, and everything else, and having a pure yes or no vote will be interesting."

Keller said if the amendment does pass in November, they would try to find legal avenues to challenge the law.

Wicks said she is confident it will pass. She said if there ever becomes a nationwide ban on abortion, the amendment would ensure abortion rights always remain in California.

"I think what we have to anticipate is that what has happened with the Supreme Court is just the beginning and that Republicans want to push this even further, including getting rid of contraception," she said.

"And so it's incumbent on a place like California," she added. "And as someone who has had an abortion and had to make that decision, I was able to make that decision on my own terms and that's fundamentally what this is about."