Senate Leader Atkins on Enactment of State Constitutional Amendment to Protect Abortion, Contraception: California Will Continue to Lead the Nation
SACRAMENTO – Following months of legislative work and pivotal approval by California voters, a state constitutional amendment to enshrine the right to abortion and contraceptives takes effect today, further solidifying California’s longtime standing as a nationwide leader on reproductive rights.
“As the ink dries on SCA 10, one message is loud and clear: in California, abortion and access to contraception are rights, and a conversation that will remain where it belongs — between an individual and their provider,” said President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), who authored the constitutional amendment. “I am thrilled that voters stood up to protect generations of Californians and our right to make decisions about our own bodies. While we made historic progress this year, our work is far from over, and my colleagues in the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and I are committed to continuing to lead the nation in developing policies that will strengthen and expand reproductive rights and access in our state.”
SCA 10 was introduced by Pro Tem Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), and coauthored by 30 Democratic Senators and 52 Democratic Assemblymembers. The amendment received widespread support in both houses and was an integral component of the Legislative Women’s Caucus’ Reproductive Justice package, which included more than a dozen bills to address the nationwide threat to reproductive rights. Those bills have since been signed into law.
The effort to enshrine the constitutional amendment began quickly after the U.S. Supreme Court draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked in May. The constitutional amendment was supported by a broad coalition of reproductive health organizations, advocacy groups and California elected officials. Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and NARAL Pro-Choice California were primary co-sponsors of SCA 10.
Timeline of the constitutional amendment:
- May 2, 2022: Draft majority opinion in Dobbs is leaked to media. Pro Tem Atkins and Speaker Rendon, with support from Governor Gavin Newsom, announce intent to pursue constitutional amendment to protect abortion in California.
- May 3, 2022: Pro Tem Atkins, members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, and legislative colleagues hold press conference on the leaked SCOTUS draft majority opinion and discuss California’s response.
- June 8, 2022: SCA 10 introduced in the Senate. The constitutional amendments needs to pass by a two-thirds majority vote of both houses by June 30 to qualify for the November ballot. Unlike legislative bills, the proposed constitutional amendment does not require the Governor’s signature to go before the voters.
- June 14, 2022: Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee passes SCA 10 by 3-1 vote, and Senate Judiciary Committee passes the bill by 9-1 vote.
- June 16, 2022: Senate Appropriations Committee passes SCA 10 in 5-2 vote.
- June 20, 2022: Senate passes SCA 10 by a 29-8 vote and is ordered to Assembly.
- June 23, 2022: Assembly Judiciary passes SCA 10 in 7-2 vote.
- June 24, 2022: U.S. Supreme Court issues decision in Dobbs, overturning Roe v. Wade. Pro Tem Atkins responds, affirming that California “will not be shoved back into the dark days of desperate decisions.”
- June 27, 2022: California State Assembly passes SCA 10 in a 58-17 vote – the bill’s final legislative requirement – just three days after the Supreme Court overruled the federal constitutional protections regarding the right to abortion.
- July 1, 2022: Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber assigns SCA 10 as Proposition 1 on November ballot.
- November 8, 2022: California voters approve Proposition 1 by 66.9 percent. This is the first time that California has given voters the opportunity to add the right to abortion and contraception to the state constitution.
- December 16, 2022: Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber issues final Statement of Vote. Proposition 1 is effective on the fifth day after the Secretary of State files the final Statement of Vote.
- December 21, 2022: Constitutional amendment added as Section 1.1 to Article 1 of the California State Constitution, related to fundamental rights.
Senate coauthors included: Senators Ben Allen, Bob Archuleta, Josh Becker, Steven Bradford, Anna Caballero, Dave Cortese, Bill Dodd, María Elena Durazo, Susan Talamantes Eggman, Steve Glazer, Lena Gonzalez, Bob Hertzberg, Ben Hueso, Melissa Hurtado, Sydney Kamlager, John Laird, Connie Leyva, Monique Limón, Mike McGuire, Dave Min, Josh Newman, Richard Pan, Anthony Portantino, Richard Roth, Susan Rubio, Nancy Skinner, Henry Stern, Tom Umberg, Bob Wieckowski, and Scott Wiener.
Assembly coauthors included: Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Joaquin Arambula, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Steve Bennett, Marc Berman, Richard Bloom, Tasha Boerner Horvath, Mia Bonta, Isaac Bryan, Lisa Calderon, Wendy Carrillo, Sabrina Cervantes, Jim Cooper, Tom Daly, Mike Fong, Laura Friedman, Jesse Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Mike Gipson, Matt Haney, Chris Holden, Jacqui Irwin, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Ash Kalra, Alex Lee, Marc Levine, Evan Low, Brian Maienschein, Kevin McCarty, Jose Medina, Kevin Mullin, Al Muratsuchi, Adrin Nazarian, Patrick O’Donnell, Cottie Petrie-Norris, Bill Quirk, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Eloise Gómez Reyes, Luz Rivas, Robert Rivas, Freddie Rodriguez, Blanca Rubio, Rudy Salas, Miguel Santiago, Mark Stone, Phil Ting, Chris Ward, Akilah Weber, Buffy Wicks, Lori Wilson, and Jim Wood.
The work to create this constitutional amendment would not have been possible without the tireless advocacy of its coauthors, sponsors, and supporters.
Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins