Sacramento – Californians willWhether or not to close the right to abortion in the state constitution.
If they vote “yes” on Proposition 1, they will also shut down a right that has received little attention: the right to birth control.
If the measure passes, California would become one of the first states — if not the first — to create clear constitutional rights for both abortion and contraception.
Lawmakers and activists behind the constitutional amendment say they hope to score a one-two punch: Protect abortion in California.under Roe v. WadeAnd advance what they see as another front in the fight for reproductive rights — birth control.
“The United States Supreme Court has held that the privacy and liberty protections in the United States Constitution do not extend to abortion,” said Carrie Franklin, an expert on constitutional law and reproductive rights. Revision. “If they say ‘no’ to abortion, they’re probably going to say ‘no’ to birth control because it has a similar history.”
The US Supreme Court ruled in June Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization The federal right to abortion ended andconvenience Justice Clarence Thomas said in his concurring opinion That created protections for Americans based on the right to privacy enshrined in the US Constitution, such as the 1965 case Griswold v. Connecticutwhich established a federal right to contraception for married people—which was later extended to unmarried people.
Some congressional Democrats are now seeking to codify the right to contraception in federal law. In July, the US House of Representatives passed the Contraceptive Rights Act, which would give patients the right to access and use contraception and empower providers to provide it. But the bill is unlikely to succeed in the US Senate, where Republicans have already blocked it once.
Protecting access to contraception is popular with voters. A national poll from Morning Consult and Politico conducted in late July found that 75% of registered voters support federal legislation that protects the right to access birth control.
California isn’t the only state where voters will consider reproductive rights in their constitution.
Tuesday, Kansas votersThat would have allowed state lawmakers to ban or dramatically restrict abortion. It failed by about 18 percentage points.
Kentucky voters will face a similar decision in November with a proposed constitutional amendment that would declare the state’s constitutional right to privacy does not cover abortion.
Vermont is going in the opposite direction. Voters there will vote on a ballot measure in November that would add the right to “individual reproductive autonomy” to the state constitution, though it does not expressly mention abortion or contraception. In Michigan, a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to both abortion and contraception is expected to qualify for the November ballot.
In California, Proposition 1 prohibits the state from “denying or interfering with an individual’s most intimate reproductive freedom, including their fundamental right to choose abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception.”
The proposed constitutional amendment does not include a detailed description of what the right to contraception means in state constitutions.
California already has some of the strongest contraceptive-access laws in the country — and lawmakers are considering more proposals this year. For example, state-regulated health plans must cover all FDA-approved contraceptives; Pharmacists must dispense emergency contraception to anyone with a prescription, regardless of age; And pharmacists can prescribe birth control pills on the spot. State courts have also interpreted the California Constitution to include a right to privacy involving reproductive health decisions.
The amendment, if adopted, could provide a new legal avenue for people to sue for being denied contraceptives, said Michelle Goodwin, chancellor of law professor at the University of California-Irvine.
If a pharmacist refuses to fill a birth control prescription or a cashier refuses to ring a condom, she said, customers can make a case that their rights have been violated.
Enshrining the right to abortion and contraception in the state constitution — rather than relying on the right to privacy — also protects it from shifting political winds, said state Senate Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who is a women’s director. Health Clinic in the 1980s. Although California lawmakers and executive officials are staunch supporters of abortion rights, she said, the makeup of the Legislature and court interpretations of the law can change.
“I want to know for sure that that right is protected,” Atkins said at a legislative hearing in June. “We are protecting ourselves from future courts and future politicians.”
The amendment would strengthen California’s role as a reproductive rights sanctuary as much of the country is far from birth control availability, Goodwin added.
Experts said the two types of contraceptives at risk for bans in other states are intrauterine devices, or IUDs, and emergency contraception such as Plan B. These methods are often mistakenly combined with abortion pills, which end the pregnancy instead of preventing it.
Nine states have laws restricting emergency contraception — for example, by allowing pharmacies to refuse to dispense it or exclude it from state family planning programs — according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. In Alabama and Louisiana this year, anti-abortionists introduced laws that would ban or ban abortions, and would also apply to emergency contraception.
“We’re seeing an erosion of abortion access in state homes across the country that target and continue contraceptive care,” said Audrey Sandusky, senior director of policy and communications for National Family Planning and Reproductive Health. Union.
Susan Arnall, vice president of the Right to Life League of California, said the proposed amendment is symbolic and merely an echo of current law. Arnall thinks the campaign is mostly Democratic politicians trying to score political points.
“It gives pro-abortion legislators talking points to trumpet and talk about how they’re doing something to reverse them. Roe v. Wade,” she said. “It’s political virtue signaling. I don’t think it does anything else.”
Goodwin argues that the measure’s symbolism is important and overdue. She points to the Civil War era, when enslaved people in southern states could look to free states for spiritual hope and material support. “Symbolically, it meant a kind of ray of hope, those places that existed, where humanity could be respected,” Goodwin said.
But California’s reputation as a haven for contraceptive availability may not be entirely guaranteed, said Dima Kato, an associate professor at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy. In her 2020 study of contraceptive access in Los Angeles County, which has some of the highest rates of teenage and unintended pregnancy in the country, Cato found that only 10% of pharmacies surveyed offered pharmacist-prescribed contraception. Pharmacies in low-income and minority communities were less likely to provide the service, Kato said, worsening disparities rather than solving them.
Cato supports the constitutional amendment but said California should focus on reforming and enforcing existing laws.
“We don’t need more laws when we don’t address the root cause of the lack of effectiveness of these laws in these communities,” Kato said. “Lack of enforcement and accountability disproportionately affects communities of color.”
It is constructed by the story KHN (Kaiser Health News), a national newsroom that provides in-depth coverage of health issues and is one of three major operating programs. KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). Publisher of KHN California Healthline, An editorial independent service California Health Care Foundation.