Coalition to stop California from enshrining abortion in constitution is bipartisan, diverse: 'Too extreme'
Opponents of California's Proposition 1 call it 'extreme, expensive and unnecessary'
A diverse bipartisan coalition of Californians is leading the charge against a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, including some pro-choice voters who find the proposed amendment "too extreme."
"Our diverse coalition and the coalition itself does not take a stance when it comes to the morality of abortion," said Catherine Hadro, a spokesperson for California Together, No on Proposition 1, which held a press conference last Thursday at the California state Capitol in Sacramento.
"Proposition 1 is extreme, it is expensive, and it is unnecessary," Hadro said, adding that the measure would mean the state constitution would effectively guarantee "late-term abortion up until the moment of birth, even if both mother and child are perfectly healthy."
Hadro maintained that the text of Proposition 1 is more vaguely worded than existing state law. "This puts California on par with China and North Korea instead of progressive nations like France and the Netherlands, and it's not what Californians want."
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The text of Proposition 1, which will be on California's Nov. 8 ballot, reads in part: "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."
Abortion under California state law is legal up to fetal viability, and permitted after viability if the life or health of the mother is in jeopardy. Opponents of Proposition 1 argue that the broad language of the amendment would remove such restrictions.
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Dr. Pratima Gupta, a San Diego obstetrician-gynecologist involved in drafting the proposed amendment, told the California radio station KQED that drafters deliberately excluded the word "viability," saying every pregnancy is "individual" and a "continuum." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists took out the term "viability" from its abortion guidance in May.
Yes on Proposition 1 spokesperson Molly Weedn pushed back against claims that it would remove all abortion restrictions in California.
"Proposition 1 simply adds existing law to the California state Constitution, and anything to the contrary is just fear-mongering and misinformation," Weedn told Fox News Digital. "Nearly 60% of voters across the country disagree with the Supreme Court’s sweeping decision to roll back reproductive health care, and Proposition 1 will ensure that access to care will be protected in California, so that important medical decisions can remain between a person and their provider."
Many religious Californians and clergy members up and down the state have voiced their opposition to Proposition 1, but Hadro explained that the arguments from her coalition of more than 500 members are not faith-based.
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During their press conference at the state Capitol last week, the speakers included Republicans, Democrats, Roman Catholics, evangelicals, a Muslim and an atheist.
"This was a rare time when you had both Republicans for Choice and Democrats for Life coming together in agreement that Proposition 1 is too extreme by permitting later abortion in the state of California," said Hadro.
Tak Allen, who serves as president of the International Faith Based Coalition, told Fox News Digital that she is pro-choice but has joined the opposition to Proposition 1.
"I'm a Black woman," said Allen, who also participated in the recent Sacramento presser. "My immediate mindset goes to the disparities that we experience when it comes to maternal care for Black women."
"Our maternal mortality rate is two and half times the national average," Allen continued. Even in health care systems that are not as overrun and exasperated as the one in California, she said, Black women have "double the odds that something will go wrong for us, and we may not walk out from having a baby."
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A mother of four with another on the way, Allen said her last pregnancy was especially difficult, and she worries that bringing in large numbers of women from out of state seeking abortions will strain a state health care system that is already overwhelmed.
Opponents to Proposition 1 also argue that the amendment could worsen the financial burden of California's loose abortion laws on state taxpayers.
The independent Legislative Analyst's Office determined Proposition 1 itself would have "no direct fiscal effect," but added: "However, whether a court might interpret the proposition to expand reproductive rights beyond existing law is unclear. If a court finds that the proposition expands these rights, there could be fiscal effects to the state."
"We have seen the California's legislature already set aside $220 million to expand abortion access in the state of California," Hadro said. "$20 million of that is specifically dedicated to people traveling from out of state into California to get abortions. This is only going to increase under Proposition 1."
She pointed out how Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom's campaign has been erecting controversial billboards in multiple states where abortion is outlawed or restricted, urging women to come to California to abort their babies.
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"In fact, California's legislature has estimated it will cost an additional $100 million within the next five years simply to pay for people coming from out of state to get abortions in California," Hadro said. "So Californians will be using their tax dollars to pay for people who are not even residents in the state."
"And finally, Proposition 1 is unnecessary, because everyone knows abortion is and will remain legal in the state of California," Hadro concluded, adding that politicians who support the measure are merely "throwing money at a problem that does not exist, because they're trying to appeal to women voters ahead of Election Day."
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Despite the vocal opposition, 71% of registered California voters support Proposition 1, according to an August poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.