Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Democrats rally in Long Beach for abortion rights measure Proposition 1

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California’s top Democrats rallied in Long Beach on Sunday morning to urge voters to support Proposition 1, a state constitutional amendment that would block the state from passing any measures restricting access to abortion or contraception.

Gov. Gavin Newsom told a raucous gathering at Long Beach City College that the fight is part of a larger battle in the state and across the country to sustain not only “reproductive freedom,” but other rights, including voting and free speech.

“This is our opportunity to send a powerful message back to people all across America that we have their back,” Newsom said. “That it’s not just about 40 million of us in California; that we have their back. We believe in reproductive freedom. We believe in a woman’s right to choose. We believe in these fundamental freedoms and we are not going to take this moment for granted. We’re going to meet this moment.”

Newsom cited a report from the American Library Assn., which said attempts to ban books across the country had hit a high in 2022, with a total of 1,651 separate titles targeted as of mid-September, with more than three months still left in the year.

“You can’t make that up,” Newsom said, noting that some of the challenged authors and topics have included Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez and Mahatma Gandhi, as well as “books that celebrate all of our interesting differences.” He concluded: “We need to wake up to what is going on in America!”

Newsom was joined at the event by U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and a host of other Democrats.

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President and CEO Jodi Hicks said California’s aggressive action in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Roe vs. Wade was having a real impact for residents and women from other states. She said the state’s $200-million expenditure will help “to ensure that people can get the reproductive healthcare — including abortion, including contraception — that they need, no matter where they call home.”

Party leaders have cast Proposition 1 as a way of guaranteeing abortion rights, reaffirming protections already spelled out in state law and by the California Supreme Court. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-1 decision overturned Roe vs. Wade, the landmark ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion in the U.S. in 1973.

Opponents have argued that Prop. 1 is not clear enough about restrictions on late-term abortions and also that the measure is redundant, because of the earlier actions by the Legislature and state Supreme Court. Some advocates of a “No” vote depict Prop. 1 as a measure to push Democratic voters to cast ballots in the election, which ends Tuesday with in-person voting.

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