NRL News

California’s “Proposition” 1 is so broadly worded that it contains no limits on abortion access or funding

by | Oct 25, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

You might think that California has already proudly assumed the title  of King of Abortion with the state taking the early lead in facilitating the deaths of massive numbers of unborn children. Just a few weeks ago, California’s pro-abortion Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 13 bills, “streamlining” the process for women in state and out to obtain abortions.  

But then there is Proposition 1. “Proposition 1 is a worst-case scenario for abortion in California. It is an expensive and misleading ballot measure that allows unlimited late-term abortions — for any reason, at any time, even moments before birth, paid for by tax dollars,” according to the California Catholic Conference. “Prop 1 isn’t needed. Sadly, California already has some of the most permissive abortion laws in the nation, but with reasonable limits on late-term abortions — which will still be allowed without the amendment for the life and health of the mother. Prop 1 destroys this common-sense limit.” The Conference concluded

California does not limit state spending on abortion, and with thousands more traveling from other states, the cost will be in the hundreds of millions. Don’t hand lawmakers a blank check to pay for abortions, and don’t let them make California an “abortion sanctuary.”

Vote “No” On Prop 1.

The California Pro-Life Council, NRL’s state affiliate, explained[] that “California Legislators want to force unlimited abortion into the State Constitution. Proposition 1 is so broadly worded that it contains no limits on abortion access, or funding.” It goes way beyond Roe. It would

  • enshrine state-funded abortion on demand throughout pregnancy into the state constitution
  • prevent parental consent or even notification laws
  • prevent informed consent laws and other reasonable health regulations for women seeking abortions
  • permanently deny a father’s right to be heard in the abortion decision
  • continue abortion’s disproportionate impact on black, Hispanic and disabled communities, thereby jeopardizing the future of these groups

Even NPR headlined its story, “Abortion is on the California ballot. But does that mean at any point in pregnancy? ”April Dembosky provides a quote that would chill almost anyone: 

Current state law allows abortion up to the point of fetal viability, generally about 24 weeks into a pregnancy. But the proposed constitutional amendment doesn’t address the issue of timing, raising the possibility that abortions would be permitted at any point in pregnancy — and, critics contend, permitted for any reason.

This uncertainty emerged during the legislative debate over the ballot amendment and how it would be worded. There were several awkward moments when Democrats were stumped by this question from Republicans — most notably when Assembly member Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) posed the question point-blank before the final Assembly vote in June.

“California law generally bars the performance of an abortion past the point of fetal viability,” Kiley said. “Would this constitutional amendment change that?”

The floor went quiet. For a full 30 seconds, no one said anything.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon whispered with Democratic colleagues, asked to have the question repeated, and then promised to answer later.

He never did.

Dembosky’s story makes it clear that unlimited abortion is on the table with Proposition 1:

Current California law incorporates the viability limit from Roe, allowing abortion for any reason through most of the second trimester, and after that only if the patient’s or fetus’s health is in danger.

But the constitutional amendment outlined in Proposition 1 doesn’t contain the word “viability.” Even among legal scholars, there is no consensus about whether that means the viability standard in place now will remain if Proposition 1 is approved, or if time limits on abortion will be eradicated in California.

“It at least opens the door,” says Mary Ziegler, law professor at the University of California-Davis, with courts likely making the final interpretation of Proposition 1 after the vote, if it’s approved.

Categories: State Legislation