June 24, 2022 Roe News v. wade

California Governor Gavin Newsom answers questions during a press conference in Los Angeles on June 9. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel/File)

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday signed new legislation strengthening abortion rights in the state, following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Upon signing the bill, Newsom described feeling “pissed off, resolute and angry.”

“That would never happen if men were the ones who had babies — never — and you know that, and I know that. Everybody knows that. And that’s the elephant in the room,” Newsom said. “Because women are treated like second-class citizens in this country. Women are treated like less than. Women aren’t as free as men. It’s damn sick.”

The new California law, passed by the state legislature on Thursday, will create a protective shield against potential civil action from out of state for anyone performing, assisting or receiving an abortion in the state. AB 1666 will not only protect California residents, but anyone visiting the state seeking reproductive health care.

The new law is just one of more than a dozen bills pending before the legislature, aimed at strengthening and protecting access to abortion. Other proposed bills would seek to focus on the root causes of reproductive health inequities, strengthen privacy protections and allow qualified nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions.

The anger over the court’s opinion was not limited to Newsom.

“This decision is unique. It’s historic. This is unprecedented in a horribly tragic way,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said. “This decision is an invasion of privacy, freedom, self-determination and equality. This decision is an attack on women. It is an attack on the equality of women. This is an attack on pregnant women.

Bonta and Newsom were joined by other lawmakers determined to strengthen state laws and make sure women in other states with more restrictive laws know they can come to California for treatment.

“California is a safe haven for those seeking abortion care. Abortion remains completely legal in California. Today’s decision does not affect the laws of our state. You have the right to an abortion here,” Bonta said. “In California, we refuse to go back and let radical ideologies take control over your body.”

“This is a dark day for our little girls and all of our children who will now come of age in a nation with fewer rights, fewer freedoms and fewer protections than the generations before them,” said Bonta, the voice trembling. “That’s not progress.”

California also introduced an amendment adding reproductive health care as a basic right to the state constitution, which will go to voters in November.

The amendment reads: “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 reinforce the constitutional right to privacy guaranteed by section 1 and the constitutional right not to be denied equal protection guaranteed by section 7. Nothing herein restricts or limits the right to privacy or equal protection.

“I hope this decision at least wakes people up,” the California governor said.

“It’s not just about choice, it’s not just about reproductive freedom,” Newsom insisted, mentioning marriage equality, interracial marriage and transgender rights. “They come after you next,” he warned.


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