In California's midterm elections last week, voters weighed in on various direct ballot initiatives in conjunction with the state's congressional contests. Chief among these was a ballot measure called Proposition 1, which aimed to revise California's state constitution to grant Californians the unconditional right to both contraception and abortion.
Since California is a linchpin of the country's progressive population, many pundits expected reproductive rights advocates to reign victorious in this referendum. And that prognostication proved to be accurate, as the measure passed with flying colors and widespread fanfare. The current results indicate that 66.3% of voters supported the measure, while 33.7% voted against it.
The initiative was conceived in response to the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, which rendered abortion rights moribund at the federal level. The Supreme Court decision in July also galvanized beleaguered activists to ramp up their voter registration efforts throughout the state.
Many conservative pundits, aggrieved by the outcome, have bemoaned the high turnout among young voters. Young voters around the country have vociferously repudiated these condemnations, defending their right to vote and their prudent judgment.
By voting in favor of the measure, voters endorsed the inclusion of the following verbiage in the state constitution:
"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."
The constitution's explicit guarantee of the legality of abortion and contraception may serve as a blueprint for future additions to other state constitutions.
As NPR opines,
Courts may have to sort out the details later, but passage of the constitutional amendment cements California as an abortion sanctuary.
Other states that have codified the right to abortion in their constitutions include Vermont and Michigan, whose reproductive rights measures were also introduced on the heels of July's monumental Supreme Court decision.