Proposed law would codify Roe in state constitution

Olivia Modarelli
Staff Writer

California lawmakers are proposing a state constitutional amendment to protect a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. This comes as a result of the leaked opinion regarding the Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this month.

On May 2, in response to the historic U.S. Supreme Court leak, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s intention to codify abortion rights. 

“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. We will fight. 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 statement by the governor’s office read.

Some members of the La Verne community agree with the sanctity of this right.  

“I appreciate California codifying it into (pending) law,” said Judy Holiday, associate professor of rhetoric and communication studies. “But I think that it needs to be codified into law federally.”

Holiday said that the U.S. Supreme Court’s pending decision is a red flag that other liberties could be at risk as well.

“We expand rights when we realize there was bias or discrimination and we make changes,” said Zandra Wagoner, University chaplain and assistant professor of philosophy and religion. “The thought that we take rights away is so morally corrupt.”

California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, said via email that she and her colleagues take constitutional amendments very seriously and that any amendments made better be made for a good reason. 

“Ensuring and enshrining women’s right to their own bodily autonomy and preventing any rollback of the access women have had to safe and legal abortion is a damn good reason,” she said. “This constitutional amendment will make it crystal clear that in California, women are in control of their own bodies, lives, and destinies.” 

No matter the outcome of this proposed law, Wagoner said it is important to remember that California is part of a larger community and that the state, along with other states, needs to remain part of the ongoing national conversation no matter what rights are reserved here. 

“The rights of women in a community or country speaks greatly to the health and well-being of that community or country,” Wagoner said. 

Olivia Modarelli can be reached at olivia.modarelli@laverne.edu.

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Olivia Modarelli, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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