Overturning Roe Unlikely to Change Much in California

CommentaryOne always ought to be careful about rumors from the U.S. Supreme Court. But it seems the court soon may reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that threw out the abortion laws in all 50 states, including those that had legalized it. California passed a legalization bill in 1967 under President Reagan, although he soon regretted it. Roe threw out that law along with the 49 others, effectively replacing democracy with kritarchy, or rule by judges. The hollering currently is exceedingly loud. Overturning Roe only would return the matter to the states, as it was before 1973. Some states would keep abortion legal, others would ban it to one degree or another. For California, the key is Senate Bill 1301, by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Democrat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The “Reproductive Privacy Act” was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in 2002. It was intended to codify Roe v. Wade in state law, in the event Roe was overturned. At the time, President Bush was pro-life and it was expected he would appoint pro-life justices. In 2005, he appointed Chief Justice John Roberts, who reportedly only wants a narrow decision on Roe concerning only the law at issue from Mississippi, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. In 2006, Bush appointed Justice Samuel Alito, who reportedly is crafting the ruling overturning Roe v. Wade entirely. Again, we can’t know exactly what might be in a decision until it’s officially handed down, perhaps in June. No matter what happens with the case before the court from Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, SB 1301 will remain in effect. According to AP, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate President Toni Atkins of San Diego and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood, all Democrats, are pledging to amend the California Constitution to further codify abortion legalization in the state. “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,” the three said in a joint statement. It takes 2/3 majorities in both houses of the Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment, which Democrats currently have without any Republican votes needed. So if they want to, and all Democrats are on board for the amendment, it could happen quickly. Then there’s the problem of what’s macabrely is called “abortion tourism.” In 2019, Newsom signed a proclamation with neighboring West Coast Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and Kate Brown of Oregon, both also Democrats, to affirm their support for legalized abortion. They wrote, “In the absence of federal leadership on this issue, states must step up and put in place their own protections—both in statute and in their state constitutions, and through the expansion of family planning and education—to defend every American’s right to reproductive freedom.” Newsom at the same time signed a Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom, which read in the part guaranteeing free abortions, “The right to choose should not depend on the ability to pay. California recognizes this important principle by requiring that all state-regulated private health plans, including Covered California [Obamacare] plans, provide equal access to maternity and abortion services. Further, California uses state funds to ensure that abortion services are available to low-income women.” In March this year, Newsom signed a law ending some fees for abortions through private insurance plans, making them cheaper. But that just means health companies will charge others more for different medical services to make up for the loss. He said, “As states across the country attempt to move us backwards by restricting fundamental reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all.” On May 3, as the news story on Roe possibly being overturned unfolded, the San Francisco Chronicle headlined, “How Roe v. Wade’s fall would create a public health crisis in California.” It reported how an influx of abortion tourism could overwhelm the state health system. Well, what did they expect? The state already gives ID cards and free health care to anyone from any country or state who comes here, legally or illegally. Is it surprising free abortions for anyone would attract customers? Finally, as I have noted before, Newsom seems to be prepping himself for a run in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary in 2024, or perhaps in 2028. The problem is stances such as that on abortion would harm him in the general election in the “swing states,” where abortion is less popular than in California. That’s especially true of working-class Democrats in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida, who more than Republicans for five decades actually have formed the backbone of the pro-life movement. The coming weeks and the drama around the potential Roe reversal could reveal just how far out of touch Newsom is from the m

Overturning Roe Unlikely to Change Much in California

Commentary

One always ought to be careful about rumors from the U.S. Supreme Court. But it seems the court soon may reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that threw out the abortion laws in all 50 states, including those that had legalized it. California passed a legalization bill in 1967 under President Reagan, although he soon regretted it. Roe threw out that law along with the 49 others, effectively replacing democracy with kritarchy, or rule by judges.

The hollering currently is exceedingly loud. Overturning Roe only would return the matter to the states, as it was before 1973. Some states would keep abortion legal, others would ban it to one degree or another.

For California, the key is Senate Bill 1301, by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Democrat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The “Reproductive Privacy Act” was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in 2002. It was intended to codify Roe v. Wade in state law, in the event Roe was overturned.

At the time, President Bush was pro-life and it was expected he would appoint pro-life justices. In 2005, he appointed Chief Justice John Roberts, who reportedly only wants a narrow decision on Roe concerning only the law at issue from Mississippi, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. In 2006, Bush appointed Justice Samuel Alito, who reportedly is crafting the ruling overturning Roe v. Wade entirely. Again, we can’t know exactly what might be in a decision until it’s officially handed down, perhaps in June.

No matter what happens with the case before the court from Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, SB 1301 will remain in effect.

According to AP, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate President Toni Atkins of San Diego and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood, all Democrats, are pledging to amend the California Constitution to further codify abortion legalization in the state.

“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,” the three said in a joint statement.

It takes 2/3 majorities in both houses of the Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment, which Democrats currently have without any Republican votes needed. So if they want to, and all Democrats are on board for the amendment, it could happen quickly.

Then there’s the problem of what’s macabrely is called “abortion tourism.” In 2019, Newsom signed a proclamation with neighboring West Coast Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and Kate Brown of Oregon, both also Democrats, to affirm their support for legalized abortion. They wrote, “In the absence of federal leadership on this issue, states must step up and put in place their own protections—both in statute and in their state constitutions, and through the expansion of family planning and education—to defend every American’s right to reproductive freedom.”

Newsom at the same time signed a Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom, which read in the part guaranteeing free abortions, “The right to choose should not depend on the ability to pay. California recognizes this important principle by requiring that all state-regulated private health plans, including Covered California [Obamacare] plans, provide equal access to maternity and abortion services. Further, California uses state funds to ensure that abortion services are available to low-income women.”

In March this year, Newsom signed a law ending some fees for abortions through private insurance plans, making them cheaper. But that just means health companies will charge others more for different medical services to make up for the loss. He said, “As states across the country attempt to move us backwards by restricting fundamental reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all.”

On May 3, as the news story on Roe possibly being overturned unfolded, the San Francisco Chronicle headlined, “How Roe v. Wade’s fall would create a public health crisis in California.” It reported how an influx of abortion tourism could overwhelm the state health system. Well, what did they expect? The state already gives ID cards and free health care to anyone from any country or state who comes here, legally or illegally. Is it surprising free abortions for anyone would attract customers?

Finally, as I have noted before, Newsom seems to be prepping himself for a run in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary in 2024, or perhaps in 2028. The problem is stances such as that on abortion would harm him in the general election in the “swing states,” where abortion is less popular than in California.

That’s especially true of working-class Democrats in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida, who more than Republicans for five decades actually have formed the backbone of the pro-life movement. The coming weeks and the drama around the potential Roe reversal could reveal just how far out of touch Newsom is from the majority of American voters.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com