California lawmakers Tuesday began formal debate on a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to an abortion and contraception in the state.
“In California, we cannot standby as women and families are left vulnerable as our highest court moves to strip away our rights and put people in harm’s way,” Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said.
Atkins introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 10 in response to the United States Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion that signaled the court may soon overturn abortion and privacy protections in Roe v. Wade.
“The reality is in the next few weeks we are facing a Supreme Court decision that will impact over half the country, and we are talking about 26 states, over 35 million who will have to travel outside of the state they live in to receive fundamental care,” Jodi Hicks, Planned Parenthood CA president/CEO, said.
Democratic lawmakers would like to get it to voters on the November ballot, but in order to do that, they’ll need to get the proposal through the legislature by June 30.
On a fast-tracked timeline, the bill had two hearings Tuesday. The measure passed 9-1 out of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, with one Republican rejecting and another not voting.
Then, it cleared the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments 3-1.
Pro-life groups, including the California Catholic Conference, spoke out in opposition.
“SCA 10 is unnecessary. The sad reality is that California already has some of the most accommodating abortion laws and services in the nation,” Kathleen Domingo said.
The bill is now set for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.