Does the Legislature know What It’s Doing With The Abortion Amendment?

At the urging of Governor Gavin Newsom, the California legislature is rushing a constitutional amendment to the November ballot that would create a fundamental right to choose an abortion at any stage of pregnancy.

Once it is on the November ballot, it needs only a simple majority to pass, and then there will be a fundamental constitutional right to choose a late-term abortion in California.

Senator Melissa Melendez sought to clarify the issue during the Senate floor debate on June 20. “Does this constitutional amendment place any restrictions on when a woman can get an abortion?” she asked Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, who along with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is the principal author of SCA 10.

“It is consistent with current California law, so what exists today is as it would be. It is between the doctor and the client, the patient,” Atkins answered.

Melendez wondered “where in the bill it would be very clear, should this go to a court, that it is to coincide with current state law.”

Atkins responded, “It’s as simple, it’s simply stated: abortion, right to contraception, it doesn’t change practice in California. That is between a doctor, and the patient.”

But Atkins is contradicted by the bill analysis prepared for the Senate, which states that current law in California “provides that the state may not deny or interfere with a person’s right to choose or obtain an abortion prior to viability of the fetus or when the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the person.”

Here is the exact language of current law, in Health and Safety Code Section 123462(c): “The state shall not deny or interfere with a woman’s fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose to obtain an abortion, except as specifically permitted by this article.”

And here’s the “except” language, in Section 123466: “The state may not deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose or obtain an abortion prior to viability of the fetus, or when the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.”

SCA 10 says this instead: “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 California Catholic Conference issued a statement of opposition to the bill that included this sentence: “We are extremely troubled by the language in SCA 10, which is so broad and unrestrictive that it would encourage and protect even late-term abortions, which most Californians oppose.”

A constitutional amendment overrides any law that conflicts with it. If SCA 10 is adopted, the “except” language in current law could be interpreted by a court as an unconstitutional infringement of the “fundamental right to choose to have an abortion.”

Even the strongest pro-choice advocates should think this through very carefully.

What if doctors or hospitals refuse to perform the procedure late in pregnancy? Could they be sued for denying a fundamental right? Would the state take action to penalize unwilling providers? Will malpractice insurance rates be affected? Will more doctors leave California or stop practicing?

Will private insurance policies be required to cover late-term abortion? Will taxpayer-paid health insurance pay for it?

What happens if a federal court finds that someone has standing to sue on behalf of a nearly full-term fetus and a lawsuit goes forward to block an abortion or challenge California’s new constitutional provision? Could such a case lead to a landmark Supreme Court ruling declaring that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the right to be born?

And then what?

Then we’re right back where we started, in a national war over future nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Understand that SCA 10 is completely unnecessary to protect current law in California. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade frees the states to make their own laws and regulations concerning abortion. California has already done that. Without SCA 10, the right to choose to have an abortion prior to viability or to protect the life or health of the mother will still be the law of the land in California.

Why are the governor and more than two-thirds of state lawmakers so intent on getting SCA 10 on the ballot this fall?

The answer is in the polling data. It’s all about motivating the independent “swing” voters who decide close elections to turn out and vote this fall.

A poll by the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research at UC San Diego asked registered California voters how likely it is that they will vote in the November election. Then the pollsters showed the voters a May 7 Newsweek article headlined, “National Abortion Ban Possible if Roe v. Wade Overturned: Mitch McConnell.”

The pollsters found that “the percentage of independents definitely planning to vote when asked at the beginning of the survey was 45.9%; this rose to 57.1% among those who read about a potential abortion ban.”

Click here to read read the full article at the OC Register

Comments

  1. Really??? says

    The answer is NO.

    At anytime? So if Slick’s mommy was having pregnancy depression she could abort him at 8 months?

  2. JimNorCal says

    It’s not just abortion. CA is going wild over child gender transition, including STRONG measures to take away decision-power and even notification to parents. Including out of state parents.

    SB107 will make California a sanctuary state for experimental medicine on minors. It will permit a parent to violate a custody agreement in any other state and have refuge in California, regardless of whether that state has a ban on gender interventions for minors.
    It will permit children, without parents or guardians, to come to California become wards of our state and receive irreversible gender intervention without any parental consent.

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