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California voters enshrine right to abortion and contraception in state constitution

People argue as a group of anti-abortion rights protesters crashes the Women's March Action Rally for Reproductive Rights at Mariachi Plaza in Los Angeles on Oct. 8.

LOS ANGELES — California will amend the state constitution to guarantee the right to abortion and contraception. Voters approved the ballot measure known as Proposition 1, according to a call by The Associated Press.

Proposition 1 was a direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling. State Democratic leaders introduced the proposition language after a draft of the Dobbs decision leaked last spring. Following the high court's final decision in June, the Democratically controlled state Senate approved putting it on the ballot.

The language voters endorsed will add to the California Constitution that "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."

Current state law allows abortions before the fetus is viable, generally around 24 weeks into a pregnancy. Abortions can also be performed after viability, but only if a doctor determines a pregnant person's life or health is in danger.

The new constitutional amendment doesn't contain the word 'viability,' and legal scholars don't agree about whether the viability standard that is in place will remain.

Some say the language is too broad, potentially opening the amendment up to being struck down by courts in the future.

Courts may have to sort out the details later, but passage of the constitutional amendment cements California as an abortion sanctuary.

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