California abortion rights constitutional amendment heads to November ballot, other abortion bills advance


Soraya Marashi


An opportunity for the right to obtain an abortion to be added to the state constitution will be presented to California voters on the November ballot. This measure comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D–San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D–Lakewood) vowed to fight back against the Supreme Court’s preliminary majority draft opinion to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in May. 


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“California will not stand idly by as women across America are stripped of their rights and the progress so many have fought for gets erased,” Newsom and the Democratic leaders said in a press release. “We will fight. California is proposing an amendment to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this state. We know we can’t trust the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, so California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution. Women will remain protected here.”

Proposition 1, introduced on June 8th, would prevent the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s decision to have an abortion or to choose or refuse contraceptives. The state Senate passed the amendment in a 29-8 vote, and the state Assembly passed the amendment in a 58-17 vote. 

The proposition has garnered support from organizations like the California Medical Association (CMA) and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. In CMA’s official supporting statement, it said:

“The California Medical Association (CMA), representing the physicians of California, is proud to support Proposition 1, which will place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to enshrine an individual’s right to reproductive freedom. California has a long history of protecting and defending reproductive health care rights, and by reaffirming our basic and fundamental principle that women should be able to get the health care they need, our state is once again leading the way.  

CMA strongly believes that medical decisions – including those around abortion and contraception – should be made by patients in consultation with their health care providers. Passage of Proposition 1 will send the strongest possible message that reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right that will be protected in California with the fullest force of the law.” 

The California Democratic Party also released its official endorsement of Proposition 1. 

“The California Democratic Party stands strong in our support for Proposition 1 because we believe in preserving confidential, unrestricted access to affordable, high quality, culturally sensitive health care services, including abortion and access to contraception,” said California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks said in the supporting statement. “California must remain steadfast in our ability to offer critical health care – like abortion – because everyone deserves to make such personal medical decisions on their own, no matter where they live or how much money they have. California leads the way to ensuring access to reproductive health care remains a reality for those who need it most and we urge voters to say YES to Prop 1 this fall.”

A few key pieces of reproductive health legislation have also moved recently, including those from the California Legislative Women’s Caucus 13-bill package. 


  • AB 1666, the bill to protect abortion patients and providers by preventing another state’s anti-abortion laws from being applied in California, was signed by Newsom on June 24th.


  • AB 1918, the bill to establish the California Reproductive Health Service Corps (RHSC), passed the Senate Health Committee in a 8-2 vote and now sits in the Appropriations Committee.


  • AB 2091, the bill to prohibit the release of abortion-related medical information for prosecution purposes, passed the Senate Health Committee in a 8-2 vote and now sits in the Appropriations Committee.


  • AB 2134, the bill to establish the California Reproductive Health Equity Program, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 9-1 vote and now sits in the Appropriations Committee.


  • AB 2223, the bill to prohibit investigations, prosecutions, or incarcerations for ending or losing a pregnancy, passed the Senate Health Committee in a 7-2 vote and now sits in the Appropriations Committee.


  • AB 2320, the bill that would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish a pilot program to administer funds to community health clinics that provide reproductive health services, has been referred to the suspense file.


  • AB 2626, the bill to prohibit the Medical Board of California from suspending or revoking the license of a legal abortion provider, passed the Senate Health Committee in a 8-2 vote and now sits in the Appropriations Committee.


  • SB 1142, the bill to require the California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) to establish a website with information about abortion services, awaits another vote in the Appropriations Committee. 


  • SB 1245, the bill to establish the Los Angeles County Abortion Access Safe Haven Pilot Program, awaits another vote in the Appropriations Committee.