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    Two Visions of America by Don Jans

    Abortion, COVID Protests Collide At Capitol

    By Emily Hoeven,

    Bills clear key hurdles

    Hundreds of protesters descended on the state Capitol on Tuesday for two separate rallies to oppose abortion- and COVID-related bills facing key votes in the Legislature — underscoring the extent to which some California voters are dissatisfied with the policy proposals emanating out of Sacramento.

    First up: Abortion. One of the rallies — which featured what appeared to be a Christian band and dancers waving colorful banners, along with protesters holding signs with slogans such as “Babies’ Lives Matter” — was in opposition to a bill by Democratic Assemblymember Buffy Wicks of Oakland to abolish California’s requirement that coroners investigate stillbirths.

    • Supporters say the bill, which passed the Assembly Health Committee on a 11-3 vote, would prevent women from being held civilly or criminally liable for their pregnancy outcomes — such as in the case of two Kings County women who were charged with murder and imprisoned after delivering stillbirths and testing positive for methamphetamine.
    • But opponents say the bill — which also prevents liability if an infant dies during the perinatal period “due to a pregnancy-related cause” — would essentially legalize the killing of newborn babies, CalMatters’ Nigel Duara reports. Some anti-abortion groups define the perinatal period as a month or more after delivery; the National Center on Health Statistics defines it as between 28 weeks of gestation and seven days after birth.
    • Susan Arnall, vice president of legal affairs for the Right to Life League: “A mother, her boyfriend or, for that matter, the babysitter, can starve or beat or shake a three-week-old baby to death and no one can investigate because under (the bill) it is a ‘perinatal death.’”
    • Wicks: “These same groups that are trying to ban abortion across this country and imprison people for stillbirths have manufactured a disinformation campaign using disturbing and violent imagery that is not grounded in medical science or the actual text of the bill.”

    Also Tuesday, lawmakers advanced a bill that would allow some California nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions without a doctor’s supervision — part of a larger package of bills to expand abortion access to Californians and out-of-state residents.

    On to COVID: The People’s Convoy — a trucker caravan crisscrossing the country in opposition to vaccine mandates and COVID restrictions — gathered for their second straight day of protests at the Capitol. Their backdrop: a large poster of Democratic Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento emblazoned with the word “LIAR.”

    • Pan last week tabled his controversial bill that would have required all children ages 0 to 17 to be vaccinated against COVID to attend school or child care in person.
    • And although a key committee was slated today to consider another contentious Pan bill to withhold state funding from law enforcement agencies that oppose public health orders, a legislative database showed late Tuesday night that the “final hearing was canceled at the request of the author” after having already been postponed twice. Pan’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
    • Meanwhile, lawmakers on Tuesday advanced another bill to reclassify the sharing of COVID-19 “misinformation” by doctors and surgeons as unprofessional conduct that could result in disciplinary action — but only after significantly watering it down.
    • According to the bill’s amendments, medical professionals would only face discipline for sharing COVID misinformation directly with their patients — and not, say, on a social media post or in a YouTube video.


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