By Emily Hoeven, Cal Matters
California voters will decide in November whether to enshrine the right to abortion and contraception in the state constitution — making the Golden State the first to put reproductive rights on the ballot after a watershed U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the federal constitutional right to an abortion.
The amendment — introduced last month by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature’s Democratic leaders — cleared its final legislative hurdle on Monday, when, after an emotional and passionate debate, more than two-thirds of lawmakers in the Assembly voted to send it to the November ballot.
- Democratic Assemblymember Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens and state Sen. Nancy Skinner of Berkeley, who lead the California Legislative Women’s Caucus: “With the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it is vital that we in California protect an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions.”
- Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, a Rocklin Republican, asked if the amendment would overrule a California law that generally prohibits abortions after fetal viability and instead allow them “up until the moment of birth.” Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, a Corona Democrat, answered, “This bill just ensures that all Californians enjoy reproductive freedoms, and that they have the ability to make these decisions themselves.”
Also Monday, lawmakers sent to Newsom’s desk a pile of gun control bills, some sponsored by the governor himself. Among them: a bill modeled on Texas’ six-week abortion ban that would allow private Californians to sue manufacturers, sellers and distributors of certain illegal guns and to collect at least $10,000 in civil damages per weapon.
Another proposal would permit residents, local governments and the state attorney general to sue firearm manufacturers and retailers for the harm their products cause when they don’t follow California’s strictest-in-the-nation gun laws — punching a hole in a 2005 federal law that shields gun makers from responsibility when their products are used to commit crimes.
- Assemblymember Phil Ting, the San Francisco Democrat who authored the latter bill: “Given last week’s (U.S. Supreme Court) Bruen decision, we must make our communities safer with stronger gun legislation. The firearms industry has enjoyed federal immunity from civil lawsuits for far too long, providing them no incentive to follow our laws.”
The legislative actions signal California’s diametrically opposed position to many of the policies upheld by the nation’s highest court and Republican-led states — and push the Golden State to the forefront of a national culture war over issues ranging from abortion to LGBTQ rights to public school curriculum.
Also seemingly pushing himself to the forefront: Newsom, who signed an executive order Monday to prevent state agencies from disclosing patient information in investigations to enforce other states’ laws restricting abortion access. The governor’s action appears to preempt a bill working its way through the Legislature that would enhance privacy protections for abortion-related medical records against disclosures to law enforcement and out-of-state third parties.
Also Monday, Newsom bought at least $105,000 worth of TV ads in Florida, including some that will air on Fox News starting July 4, according to AdImpact.
- When asked to confirm the ad buy and explain the governor’s rationale for targeting the Florida market, Nathan Click, a spokesperson for Newsom’s reelection campaign, said, “Stay tuned!”
Newsom, who has insisted he has “sub-zero interest” in running for president, has nevertheless sparked rumors to the contrary by excoriating his fellow Democrats, joining former President Donald Trump’s social media platform Truth Social to call out “Republican lies,” and repeatedly blasting the GOP on Twitter.
- Newsom tweeted Saturday: “The GOP’s America: the nation of gun care and health control.”