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Commentary: Vote yes on Proposition 1 to ensure the right of abortion in California

Demonstrators gather in Austin following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Demonstrators march and gather near the Texas state Capitol in Austin following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade on June 24.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

The negative consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade are already being felt across the country. Multiple states have outlawed or severely restricted abortion, leading to legal confusion and fear around miscarriages, fertility treatments and other areas far beyond simply abortion. Some politicians in these states are now publicly declaring that they will try to restrict or outlaw contraception.

It’s shortsighted to say that this could never happen in California. A change in the makeup of Congress, or even the state Supreme Court, could pave the way for an abortion ban here, sowing that same confusion and devastation unfolding in other states. Some local leaders are already making dangerous gestures like attempting to ban abortion providers from their cities.

But California voters get the choice to enshrine the right to abortion and contraception in our own state’s constitution this November. Proposition 1 will amend the state constitution to explicitly prohibit the state from denying or interfering with personal choices related to reproductive care. It declares that individuals have a fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and to use or refuse contraceptives. Proposition 1 would ensure that, if future lawmakers want to rescind the right to abortion, they would have to amend the constitution with a supermajority and the support of voters, rather than amending the state’s statutes with a simple legislative majority.

Here’s why it’s so important to vote yes on Proposition 1 on Nov. 8 and protect abortion rights.

Abortion access changes lives

According to a landmark research study (now called the Turnaway Study) conducted over 10 years between 2007 and 2017, the consequences are devastating for someone who is denied an abortion and forced to carry a pregnancy to term. Outlawing abortion leads to more children born into poverty, serious physical health risks for more people forced to remain pregnant and lower quality of life for people who are already struggling and marginalized. This deepening inequality will have lasting impacts on our nation’s economy.

According to Georgetown Law, Texas’ abortion ban has already stunted young womens’ employment and educational ambitions, particularly those who are low-income and in rural areas. It will lead to worse health outcomes — even preventable deaths — for them and their children.

California is affected by abortion bans elsewhere

For people forced to travel to other states, California has become a sanctuary. When Texas effectively outlawed abortion, months before the end of Roe vs. Wade, the number of out-of-state abortion patients traveling to Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties tripled. The largest increase has been in women driving in from Arizona, where a “trigger ban” is set to go into effect on Sept. 24.

Proposition 1 will continue to allow individuals and families to have the freedom to decide if and when to have children, giving people the ability to plan their lives and achieve their dreams.

Regardless of who or what party controls the government or the courts, we need to ensure that any person’s right to an abortion is protected in California. It’s essential that California continue to have the strongest laws in the nation so that we can continue to be a beacon of hope for those who may need to access essential healthcare. This is why we all need to vote yes on Proposition 1.

Robert Armenta is senior vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties.

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