California Moves To Codify Abortion Rights In State Constitution After SCOTUS Leak

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared Tuesday that “women will remain protected here,” a response to a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade.

After Politico first published the draft opinion — which the Supreme Court later confirmed was real — Newsom, along with state Senate leader Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, both Democrats, announced a proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine the right to abortion access in California.

“California will not stand idly by as women across America are stripped of their rights and the progress so many have fought for gets erased. We will fight,” they said in a joint statement. “We can’t trust the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, so California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution. Women will remain protected here.”

Lawmakers would have to pass the amendment with two-thirds support from both chambers in order for it to be added to the ballot in November, according to the Sacramento Bee. Democrats hold a large enough majority in the state Senate and Assembly to do so, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Californians would then vote on the amendment on Nov. 8. Polls have shown that large majorities of voters in the state support abortion access.

Republicans have long been making efforts to restrict abortion across the country. Twenty-six states are likely or almost certain to ban abortion if the Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Last year, in response to Republicans’ attacks on abortion access in other states, Newsom said California would be a “sanctuary” where people could travel to seek abortion care.

On Monday night, as news of the Supreme Court leak circulated, Newsom called the draft opinion “an appalling attack on the rights of women.”

“I’m furious that my own daughters and sons could grow up in an America that is less free than the one they were born into,” he added. “We have to wake up. We have to fight like hell.”

It’s worth noting that the draft decision is not final, and abortion remains legal in all 50 states for now.

At the federal level, progressive Democratic lawmakers have been calling for the Senate to abolish the filibuster so it can pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would guarantee access to abortion care nationwide.

“It’s time for Congress to get off the sidelines and protect women’s fundamental right to choose,” said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). “We must act now before it is too late.”

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