California’s PROP 1: Why it matters EVERYWHERE.

What is Prop 1?

  • Prop 1 is a proposed amendment to California’s Constitution that would create a constitutional right to “an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions.” This includes – but is not limited to – birth control and abortion.
  • The amendment will be on the ballot this November.
  • Early voting in California begins on October 8.
  • The amendment is unprecedented. No state has ever enshrined abortion or other “reproductive freedoms” in a state constitution.
  • However, other states are watching California as they consider similar “reproductive freedom” amendments.

What does Prop 1 say?

  • The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.
  • This section is intended to further the constitutional right to privacy guaranteed by Section 1, and the constitutional right to not be denied equal protection guaranteed by Section 7.
  • Nothing herein narrows or limits the right to privacy or equal protection.

Who wrote Prop 1?

  • Prop 1 was written by Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobbying group NARAL.
  • Their goal is to make California a “reproductive freedom” destination to lure people from other states to come to California because of our lax abortion laws.

What is “reproductive freedom?

  • This language is intentionally vague.
  • A similar amendment in Michigan defines “reproductive freedom” as “the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.”
  • This means people – including children – could claim a constitutional right to gender reassignment procedures and surgeries that result in permanent sterilization.
  • California’s AB 2223 defines “reproductive justice” as “the human right to control our bodies, sexuality, gender, work, and reproduction.” This means “there shall be no civil and criminal penalties for people’s actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome…  including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero.”
  • The legislative analyst defines the perinatal period as between pregnancy and up to one month after birth.

What is the difference between a law and a constitutional amendment in California?

  • A law is a rule or standard of behavior, including penalties for violations. Laws are proposed and passed by the legislature. They can be struck down by state and federal courts.
  • The California Constitution, with its amendments, is “meta law.” It is a framework of principles that specifies how laws should be created, applied, and enforced. A constitutional amendment requires a vote of the people. Amendments cannot be struck down by state courts. They must be either overturned by a subsequent amendment or struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

What would Prop 1 do?

  • Prop 1 would override California’s Reproductive Privacy Act, which
    • Prohibits post-viability abortions unless the mother’s health is at risk.
    • Prohibits unauthorized individuals from performing abortions. In other words, Prop 1 permits self-induced abortions and abortions done with the assistance of an unqualified, untrained person.
  • Prop 1 creates a constitutional right to abortion throughout pregnancy, birth control, and other “reproductive freedoms.”
  • Prop 1 creates a constitutional right to self-induced abortion throughout pregnancy.
  • Prop 1 creates a constitutional right to have any individual, whether trained or not, assist with a self-induced abortion.
  • Prop 1 could create a constitutional right to any “pregnancy outcome,” including the intentional killing of a baby born alive during a self-induced abortion. (See AB 2223)
  • Prop 1 prohibits state from enacting any laws that would interfere with access to abortion, including abortion pills. This means abortion pills could be obtained outside of the current 10 week gestational limit set by the FDA.
  • Prop 1 would make it virtually impossible to enact any future safeguards on abortion – i.e., parental notification for abortions on minor children, restrictions on late-term abortions, meaningful informed consent, regulations governing abortion pills, reporting on abortion statistics and complications, etc.

Would the provisions of Prop 1 apply to children?

  • Yes.
  • The reproductive freedoms enshrined in the state constitution would also apply to minors, who could assert them against their parents. This has implications for parental rights regarding gender reassignment procedures and surgeries, human trafficking, “sex work,” etc.
  • Prop 1 gives children a constitutional right to abortion, including abortion pills that are only loosely regulated. For example, there are no protections in place to ensure that women take abortion pills early in pregnancy even though taking the pills in the second and third trimesters can cause severe physical injury and even death.

Can Prop 1 be defeated?

  • Yes!
  • Recent polling shows that most Californians oppose late-term abortion.
  • Even people who are pro-abortion are concerned that the amendment could open the door to lawsuits that may end the unqualified right to abortion in California.

What happens if Prop 1 is defeated?

  • This would send a huge signal to other states that are currently considering similar “reproductive freedom” amendments.
  • Post-viability restrictions on abortion will remain in place.
  • There would be no constitutional right to abortion, which means commonsense measures to protect women and girls could be proposed, including as parental notification laws, informed consent, reporting on adverse events, etc.
Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: