Hours later, Newsom and the Democratic leaders of the state Legislature announced plans to introduce an amendment “to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this state.” For the amendment to be incorporated into the constitution, it would need to be passed by two-thirds of lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate and approved by voters.
“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,” said Newsom and Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) in a statement. “We know 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.”
Politico acknowledged the draft opinion has many caveats: It represents only the opinion of Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the draft for the majority. It’s far from final — the draft was written in February, and the court isn’t expected to issue a final ruling until June or July. And vote breakdowns can change: Although four other Republican-appointed justices reportedly voted to back Alito in private conferences while three Democratic-appointed justices are working on dissents and Chief Justice John Roberts remains undecided, that lineup could shift in the final opinion.
The draft ruling — the first to be released in the court’s modern history while a case is still pending — could supercharge an election season that’s getting into full swing with the June 7 primary just a month away, raising the stakes in already competitive seats.
In his first campaign video of 2022, released Monday, Newsom strolls through a redwood forest while pledging to “always lead the California way.”
One prong of that plan: Making California a “sanctuary” for out-of-state patients seeking abortion, including by helping cover the cost of the procedure, transportation, lodging, child care, food and lost wages. At the local level, two Santa Clara County supervisors are seeking $3 million to help out-of-state women access abortion care.
The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade could result in 26 states immediately banning or severely limiting abortions — making California the closest no-ban state within driving distance for as many as 1.4 million women, a nearly 3,000% increase from current levels, according to abortion-rights supporter Guttmacher Institute.
No state does more to protect abortion access, as CalMatters’ Kristen Hwang reports in this comprehensive explainer.