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Newsom, Atkins Call for Amendment to California Constitution to Shield Abortion

PoliticsNewsom, Atkins Call for Amendment to California Constitution to Shield Abortion

Gavin NewsomGov. Gavin Newsom. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / CalMatters

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s top legislative leaders called for an amendment to the state Constitution to permanently protect abortion rights in the wake of a draft Supreme Court decision ending federal protection.

Newsom, state Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins from San Diego and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon from Lakewood released a joint statement Monday night on the leaked 98-page ruling.

“California will not stand idly by as women across America are stripped of their rights and the progress so many have fought for gets erased,” the three said in the statement. “California is proposing an amendment to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this 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. Women will remain protected here,” the lawmakers said. 

Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed on Tuesday that the draft ruling to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was authentic but said it is not final.

“I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak,” Roberts said, calling it an “egregious breach” of trust.

The draft was widely criticized by California lawmakers, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein warning that women will suffer if the landmark decision is overturned.

“Make no mistake, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will be harmed and some will die,” she tweeted Tuesday morning. “It happened before Roe became law of the land and it will happen again, particularly since this decision will harm low-income and at-risk women more than anyone.”

The draft ruling authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito followed a 5-3 trial vote of the justices, with Roberts not yet taking a side. The official ruling is not expected until late June or early July.

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