13 Sep WHY VOTE NO ON PROP 1 CALIFORNIA’S ABORTION AMENDMENT
California’s Prop 1 is, at best, legislative virtue signaling; however, its broad grant of power may be an existential threat to public health and protection of women and children.
WHAT DOES PROP 1 SAY?
Prop 1 states: “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 . . . .”
On its face, Prop 1 prevents the state from denying or interfering with any person’s reproductive choices, including, but not limited to abortion. But Prop 1 goes beyond abortion and contraception to protect a fundamental right to reproductive freedom. We don’t know how California state courts will interpret the scope of this sweeping, broad language, especially in light of recently passed laws such as AB 2223.
THE BROAD SCOPE OF PROP 1:
PROP 1 :
● ELIMINATES STATE OVERSIGHT OF SURROGACY, BUYING AND SELLING OF EGGS AND SPERM, AND OTHER REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
● ENABLES SEXUAL EXPLOITATION FOR PROFIT
● ENABLES INCEST AND POLYGAMY
● IS UNNECESSARY TO PROTECT ABORTION ACCESS IN
WHAT COULD PROP 1 DO, IF PASSED?
Deregulating Reproductive Health Care and Risking Exploitation of Women and Children?
Prop 1 has troubling consequences. Its foreseeable, exploitive aspects and legal consequences could endanger public health by impacting state oversight of surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies, current restrictions on age and mental capacity to consent to sexual activity, and legal restrictions against incest and polygamy and degrees of consanguinity. Prop 1 could even undermine the state’s ability to regulate reproductive health care services whatsoever.
Impacting Surrogacy and Assisted Reproductive Technology?
Prop 1 could put all surrogacy (i.e., wombs for rent) and assisted reproductive technology (ART) beyond the reach of any regulation by the government, making unfettered ART a constitutional right.
Consider a constitutional right allowing anyone to obtain children by purchasing eggs, sperm, and surrogacy services without “interference” from state regulations. Private surrogacy companies, their policies, and practices cannot be regulated by the state. This encourages exploitation.
Any underage girl would also have the constitutional right to rent her womb as a surrogate or sell her eggs without parental involvement or notice and without state oversight of the procedures.
Removing restrictions on age and mental capacity?
The scope of Prop 1 goes far beyond abortion to create an absolute, unfettered reproductive “right” for anyone regardless of age or mental capacity. Minors could have an absolute right to sex change drugs and surgery without parental knowledge or consent and without state regulation of the procedures or medications used.
Sex between adult and minors could become a constitutional right so long as the minor “consents”. This encourages exploitation, manipulation and child abuse.
Undermining laws against incest and polygamy?
State restrictions on a person’s capacity to enter into decisions impacting their reproductive ability could be ruled “interference” of reproductive freedom.
Current laws against incest or health prohibitions within degrees of consanguinity, polygamy, or sex between adults and minors would be unlikely to stand against an individual’s constitutional right to “reproductive freedom.”
Affecting state oversight of all reproductive health care?
By making reproductive freedom a constitutional right, Prop 1 could put all reproductive medical health services and technology beyond the reach of state regulation, endangering public health. Abortion clinics, Abortionists, RNs, assistants and doulas as well as OB/GYNs, midwives, hospital delivery departments and staff, and pro-life medical clinics would no longer need to meet basic state licensing, training, or health standards because they interfere with reproductive freedom.
PROP 1 IS NOT NECESSARY TO PROTECT ABORTION RIGHTS
Prop 1 is unnecessary to protect abortion rights in California. Whether Prop 1 passes or fails, nothing about abortion rights will change in California.
The California Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled abortion to be a fundamental right protected under our state constitution. See for example, People v. Belous and Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights v. Meyers.
The California Legislature already has committed over $200 million dollars to paying for abortions. Prop 1 has nothing to do with that funding. Prop 1 will have no effect on where, when, or how California taxpayers fund abortions for out-of-state women.
Late-term abortion is already unrestricted in California.
The supposed “restrictions” on late-term abortions in current California law are just word play, verbal smoke-and mirrors. Terms like “viability” (as judged by the abortionist) and “health” of the mother (same subjective standard) are so malleable that there is no chance of anyone being prosecuted for, much less convicted of, an illegal late-term abortion.
Even Infanticide from Botched Abortions is not legally actionable.
Newly passed law (AB 2223) removes all civil and criminal penalties for “people’s actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcomes,” including perinatal death “due to causes that occurred in utero.” This undefined language would include the death of babies born alive following attempted abortions, whether chemical or surgical.
Perinatal death is not defined in the bill, but in every other context includes the death of neonates (newborns) at least through 7 days after birth. Many entities include the death of newborns up to one month old in their definition of perinatal death. California defines the perinatal period to extend through the first 28 days of life after birth.
The death of a newborn at the hands of a mother suffering from postpartum depression, a condition which arguably stems from “causes that occurred in utero,” namely the pregnancy itself, would also be shielded from investigation and prosecution.
At best, Prop 1 is unnecessary legislative virtue signaling designed to salute abortion. At worst, Prop 1’s broad scope could endanger public health and unleash unanticipated exploitation of women and children. Voters in California would be wise to reject such a sweeping change to the state constitution.
The Right to Life League gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Life Legal Defense Foundation’s Chief Legal Officer, Catherine Short, Esq. to this article.