How California leaders can add abortion rights to the state constitution – NBC 7 San Diego


California voters could decide whether or not to add abortion protections to the state constitution in the fall.

Governor Gavin Newsom, State Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and other legislative leaders announced they were submitting an amendment to the November ballot.

The leaders have also pledged to make California a sanctuary for people from other states seeking abortions, and say they want to add abortion protections to the state constitution, which would make it much more difficult for future legislators to repeal them.

“The idea would be to ensure that the right to abortion remains protected in California by enshrining that right in the constitution,” said Robert Shapiro, dean of the University of San Diego and C. Hugh Friedman professor of law. .

USD Dean Shapiro explains to NBC 7 the process of adding a Constitutional Amendment.

“It’s common in California and elsewhere to create amendments to the constitution, you have a two-thirds vote from both sides of the legislature – the senate and the assembly, and then it goes to the people,” Dean Shapiro said. “If there is a majority vote of the people, then the initiative becomes an amendment to the constitution.”

When it comes to reproductive rights, the state of California already has abortion protections, but Shapiro views the new move as symbolic.

“At a time when there’s a lot of focus on restricting abortion in many states, California wants to be a leader in saying, ‘Oh, actually, we think it’s important to affirm that a woman should be able to have the right to choose an abortion and we want to change the narrative a bit,'” he said.

The decision of the Heads of State is not a first either. Over the past 20 years, states have tended to take their own position on national issues.

“At a time when the US government wasn’t doing much about climate change, we saw how the state of California tried to enact laws to reduce emissions and even talk to other countries about reducing emissions. shows,” Shapiro said.

Meanwhile, Congress passing a law protecting abortions is still not on the table.

“So maybe Congress could take that kind of national action, but if it doesn’t, it will be up to each state to decide what the rule will be in our state,” he explained.

California is one of more than 20 other states that already have laws in place to protect abortion services.


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