On 50th Anniversary of Roe v Wade, CA Legislature Passes Resolutions Urging Congress and President Biden to Enact Federal Law Ensuring Access to Abortion and Contraception

Jan 23, 2023
Margaret Hanlon-Gradie, Margaret.HanlonGradie@sen.ca.gov; Sulema Landa, Sulema.Landa@asm.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – The California Legislature today passed resolutions authored by the leadership of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, honoring the 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade and calling on Congress and President Biden to enact a federal law guaranteeing the right to reproductive freedom, including abortion and contraception.

The State Senate passed SR 9 authored by Legislative Women’s Caucus Chair Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, on a 31-6 vote. The Assembly passed HR 6 authored by LWC Vice Chair Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, on a voice vote.

“Yesterday, California and the nation commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Today, both houses of California’s Legislature sent a clear message: Our country must not turn back the clock on a half-century in which women’s bodily autonomy was legally assured. Our health, safety, and freedom should not depend on the state in which we live. To stop a travesty of unnecessary deaths, reproductive injuries, and unwanted births that are already occurring, we must have a federal guarantee for abortion and contraception nationwide, and we urge the President and the Congress to act now,” said Sen. Skinner.

“Even though the current radical Supreme Court chose to attack our civil liberties by overturning Roe nearly seven months ago, we come together today to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, made when the court was more interested in protecting Americans’ liberties than controlling their personal lives. Here in California, we are committed to protecting all people’s bodily autonomy. But millions in our country now lack the basic protections we cherish in our State. We urge the President and the United States Congress to take action to enact federal legislation to ensure every individual, regardless of which state they live in, has the same protections,” said Asm. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry. “A lack of access to the full range of reproductive health services across the United States disproportionately affects people of color, the less economically fortunate, and young people because they are most likely to face barriers to travel across state lines to exercise their rights.”

Today’s resolutions passed by the state Legislature come seven months after the anti-abortion majority of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 overturned Roe and ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to abortion.

Since then, 24 states have passed or are poised to pass laws that severely limit or outright ban access to abortion care, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

And according to The New York Times, those who live in states that limit abortion access except for explicitly stated exemptions such as rape or incest, or medical complications that are a threat to the pregnant person’s life, have not been able to secure approval for the exemptions promised in their laws and have been blocked from receiving urgent and necessary health care.

Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of legislation and budget actions sponsored by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, expanding and protecting access to reproductive care in the state. And in the November 2022 election, California voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution, protecting the fundamental right to choose abortion and to choose or refuse contraception.

In addition, President Biden and Vice President Harris yesterday issued an executive memorandum directing the federal government to protect legal access to medication abortion and to safeguard patient safety and security.

SR 9 and HR 6 were sponsored by Black Women for Wellness Action Project, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. HR 6 also had 61 co-authors in the Assembly.