California Prop 1 for abortion rights passes

Proposition 1, a measure proposed after the repeal of Roe v. Wade that would amend the state constitution to guarantee access to abortion procedures and birth control, was passed by California voters on Tuesday. 

The amendment guarantees the right to abortion and contraception. It was part of a robust legislative package backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to ensure California remains a haven for people seeking abortion services. 

Legislators placed the measure to amend the constitution on the Nov. 8 ballot days just after the court ruled in June that states could decide whether to allow abortion.

The amendment language put forward by Proposition 1 does not spell out which, if any, types of abortions would still be prohibited. But the courts wouldn’t interpret the amendment as an "absolute right" to any abortion in any circumstance, as they would still take existing law into account, said Kimberly West-Faulcon, a constitutional law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

California already prohibits most abortions after fetal viability, defined in state law as the point during a pregnancy at which there is "a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus," usually around 24 weeks. Abortions in the third trimester are rare, and in California, permitted only if the mother’s life or health is at risk.

Opponents, including the Catholic Church, are concerned the measure does not specify the maximum number of weeks that an abortion can be performed during a pregnancy.

But the measure’s supporters want to send a resounding message that abortion is legal and accessible in California, and they hope a solid win will inspire other states also to enshrine the right in their constitutions.

The amendment in California would declare that 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."

With the passing of Prop. 1, abortion is permitted at any stage of pregnancy.