Op-Ed: Vote Yes on Prop 1

By Joan Hartmann & Gregg Hart

This past June, the Conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the nearly 50-year, precedent-setting 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established the constitutional right to privacy including the right to an abortion. In response, legislators from both political parties in the California Legislature moved to add Proposition 1 to the upcoming November 8 ballot. The Supreme Court’s action returned abortion to states to regulate. Prop 1 is a constitutional amendment that would codify the right to reproductive freedom in the California constitution. Even in California, we need a constitutional amendment to protect reproductive freedom and we urge you to vote yes on Prop 1.

In accordance with an overwhelming majority of Americans, we unequivocally believe that private and personal medical decisions should remain between patients and their health care providers and that doctors and nurses should not be threatened with legal or criminal penalties for providing basic health care to patients. Whether, when and who to have a child with are the most intimate and personal decisions people make and the government should not insert itself into such choices.

California has long been recognized as a state supportive of reproductive rights with strong individual privacy protections. Our state legalized abortion prior to Roe with the Therapeutic Abortion Act signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967. But the right to obtain an abortion is not explicitly enshrined in our state constitution, rather it exists in statute. In overturning Roe, Justice Samuel Alito opined that the right to privacy does not exist within the U.S. constitutional framework. Given that so many of our basic rights, freedoms, and individual liberties are predicated on the right to privacy – now under activist judicial threat – we must act to enshrine basic rights into our state constitution to help ensure that they cannot be taken away from us. In California only a majority of voters – not legislators – can amend our state constitution.

Passage of Prop 1 means that politicians, now or in the future, cannot deny or interfere with reproductive freedoms without a majority vote of the people of California. This very state constitutional mechanism is what the voters of Kansas valiantly rallied to protect earlier this summer when anti-abortion activists tried to usurp the power of regulating abortion out of the state constitution and put it into the hands of zealous conservative politicians, with the goal of outlawing abortion. Voters overwhelmingly rejected this effort and abortion remains legal in Kansas. 

Abortion is a personal decision and people should be able to make private medical decisions with their health care providers without political interference. 

Prior to Roe, abortion was illegal throughout much of the country. The dismantling of Roe leaves the U.S. with a chaotic web of rules and regulations, that zealous conservative politicians will continue to work to erode. Many seek to outlaw abortion altogether. But across the U.S. voters are revolting and turning out in unprecedented numbers to protect abortion at the ballot box. Recognizing this, extreme GOP Senator Lindsey Graham introduced legislation for a nationwide abortion ban in the Senate last month.

More than a dozen states already have full abortion bans in place forcing thousands of pregnant individuals to travel to California, including to the Central Coast, for care. Our state is a symbol of compassion, hope, and progress and we have a moral obligation to help people access the basic health care they need.

Prop 1 protects the most vulnerable. Research suggests that the health of pregnant individuals is put at risk without the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term or choose to safely end a pregnancy. The U.S. already has the highest maternal death rate among industrialized nations globally. Maternal deaths are disproportionately concentrated among people with low incomes and among people of color – with Black Americans three times more likely to die during childbirth than white Americans.

Currently, one in four of those who can become pregnant in the U.S. will obtain an abortion by the age of 45 and a majority of those in the U.S. who obtain abortions have already given birth. Studies show that the choice to plan, delay, and space births greatly increases U.S. women’s opportunities, workforce participation and wages, and attainment of a college education. Individuals should retain the freedom to decide how to best live their lives and plan their families.

As political leaders, we must do all we can to protect and advance the rights of those who we represent, this includes ensuring abortion is legal and accessible and that important health care decisions are left to individuals and their health care providers. We can achieve this by voting YES on Prop 1.

The views and opinions expressed are those of Joan Hartmann and Gregg Hart as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the entities they represent. For identification purposes only, Joan Hartmann is elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors representing the Third District and Gregg Hart is elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors representing the Second District and is a current candidate for the State Assembly, District 37.

Op-Ed’s are written by community members and local organizations, not edhat. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.
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  1. Politics on EdHat? Wow, why?
    The existing CA Constitution allows abortions on unviable, non living fetus (up to 24 weeks) unless the pregnancy puts the health or life of the mother.
    So why do we need Prop 1?
    Per the writer of this piece, “ Research suggests that the health of pregnant individuals is put at risk without the right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term ”
    Not true.
    Currently if the woman’s life is at risk she can obtain an abortion. No need for Prop 1.
    What else is buried deep in Prop 1?
    There is already a right to privacy guaranteed in the existing California Constitution.
    So again I ask why is EdHst posting something g like this pushing this agenda?

    • “why is EdHst posting something g like this ” – because it’s a private local news/commentary site in a heavily liberal town in a very liberal state. Getting so sick of all these cons/repubs coming here and complaining about it being liberal. LOOK WHERE YOU ARE. Do I go to Parler and cry about being downvoted?

    • SBLETS – “The existing CA Constitution allows abortions” – you didn’t read the article, did you?
      “the right to obtain an abortion is not explicitly enshrined in our state constitution, rather it exists in statute.”
      “we must act to enshrine basic rights into our state constitution to help ensure that they cannot be taken away from us”
      “In California only a majority of voters – not legislators – can amend our state constitution.”
      These reasons are “why we need Prop 1.”

    • SBLETSGETALONG you’re triggered. It’s ok We can talk you down out of your tree. “So again I ask why is EdHst posting something g like this pushing this agenda?” Because it’s the right thing to do to keep women’s rights. Most of us are all so glad to live in a non-fascist state where women keep their rights, where we value everyone regardless of race or sexual preference – unlike red states where minorities are lynched and girls are forced to carry rapist babies, and women carrying a pregnancy that could kill them are denied a choice. Also the proud boys, oath keepers, and other far-right library attacking yahoos should move now. The end.

  2. “people should be able to make private medical decisions with their health care providers without political interference. ” —- that’s how you know this is all done for political capital as the State of CA, the UC system and many other State institutions STILL have vaccine/booster requirements. So to say they “unequivocally believe that private and personal medical decisions should remain between patients and their health care providers” they are unequivocally full of BS.

  3. THANK YOU for posting this. I really hope that California can fight and maintain a state of decency for women. I am so sick and tired of the GOP and far right wing zealots making decisions for the majority of us. I was a volunteer at Planned Parenthood for 7 years. I fought alongside many other feminists for our basic rights, went to marches, voted, donated… and yet here we are, still having to fight this CRAP. Elect pro-choice candidates. Vote Blue. For your daughters and grandaughters should not have less rights than we have had.

  4. Roe v. Wade allowed for an abortion up to the date of “viability”. The proposition that Gregg Hart supports would allow abortions up to the day before the baby is born. Proposition 1 would change California’s state constitution to ignore the viability clause in Roe v. Wade. Gregg Hart apparently believes that our society should embrace, and codify the abortion of a baby that is several weeks beyond the point of viability, up to and including the day before birth.. I’m all for the woman’s “right to choose”, but Proposition 1 sounds like a ghoulish proposal that doesn’t belong in our state’s constitution.

    • Every word of JoeG’s comment is a lie. Roe v. Wade had a 3 trimester formula that allowed–but did not require–states to prohibit third trimester abortions if they didn’t threaten the mother’s life or health. Planned Parenthood v. Casey replaced the trimester formula with a viability standard, but again *allowed* states to prohibit abortions past that point but didn’t *require* them to–and abortions up to the moment of birth were always been allowed if the mother’s health or life was threatened … *until* Alito’s misogynist ruling based on 13th century standards.

  5. Every women has a right to choose yet abortions after 15 weeks is really sad. Could you imagine aborting a healthy baby at 30 weeks. Anyone who has gone to their wife’s ultrasound and see a baby smiling and moving and could end that life should watch a movie on how abortions are preformed. It would be a good idea to limit the age as most states stop at 15 weeks unless it’s a emergency. Let’s promote birth control and vasectomy before abortion. Yes we live in a beautiful liberal state but let’s not become a abortion state. That’s nothing to be proud of. And I don’t think this is a liberal or conservative issue as much as a individual belief. I for one am getting tired of the devision we will never evolve hating. Yes I am liberal with conservative friends and we for the most part are all trying to come together for the good of our country and our families.

  6. Women already have the right to abortion under current CA law.
    CA Health & Safety Code
    Who commenting here has read
    Article 2.5
    Section 123462
    The Legislature finds and declares that every individual possesses a fundamental right of privacy with respect to personal reproductive decisions. Accordingly, it is the public policy of the State of California that:
    (c)  The state shall not deny or interfere with a woman’s fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose to obtain an abortion, except as specifically permitted by this article.
    Section 123466.
      (a) The state shall not deny or interfere with a woman’s or pregnant person’s right to choose or obtain an abortion before the viability of the fetus, or when the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman or pregnant person.
    A woman already has a choice up till 24 weeks.. After that the baby is considered a living human being under CA law. I order to kill the living baby after 24 weeks the mothers life needs to be endangered.
    Let the unborn child have a voice.
    Or are you all saying CA should follow states like NY & allow the killing of babies up till term?

    • Govt mandates, interference in medical freedom is concerning. The SCOTUS decision returning one specific medical procedure back to the states is outrageous. If employment or other responsibilities take me or any female to a restrictive state, we’re captive unless we’ve financial resources to travel to a safe state. Wonder if SCOTUS will turn treatment of prostate cancer or some male matter back to the states to decide. I don’t get the logic or legal basis for SCOTUS ruling.

  7. I used to think abortion was no big deal. I had friends in college get abortions and it was hard on them, but they handled it okay, from what I could see (admittedly distant). Years later came marriage and three children. Having been the father through all of that, feeling the babies move in her womb, going through the pregnancy process, I started to think a little differently about it. My wife became pregnant with baby #4, and the baby died in utero, we believe from a door that unexpectedly fell onto her belly. She had to give birth to the deceased fetus. I didn’t think it would affect me that much because I never got to meet the baby. I could not have been more wrong. I grieved heavily and still grieve from it. It had a profound impact on me to hold my deceased son after he had been born. Ever since then I’ve realized that an unspoken and unexplainably deep bond develops between the child and it’s parents (fathers too) during the pregnancy process. My views on abortion have changed. It’s not something to be taken lightly.

  8. First, I do support a woman’s right to reproductive control over her body, including the right to abortion. But my concern here is with the two supervisors’ decision to replace the word, “woman,” with “people” or “individual.” Those two words appear throughout the piece in an attempt to extend birthing to males, an absurd notion. The editorial decision was, of course, ideologically motivated. Only women can become pregnant, give birth (or not), and nurse their infants. Increasingly though, language itself is hijacked to suit a particular agenda — to accommodate the radical end of the transgender movement. Homo Sapiens are higher order mammals. Mammals are born either male or female. This is also true for most animal life: birds, insects, reptiles, fish. Yes, “science is real,” to take from the current mantra. So to deny basic human evolution and biology is an assault on biological females: the denial that only women have the ability to create human life in our wombs and then nurture an infant through our bodies. It’s tough enough to be born female, and now we are commanded to compete with men for our own scrap of biological autonomy. Female human beings carry the XX sex chromosome; males carry the XY (and in rare cases, the XYY). Those sex-specific chromosomes are located in every cell within the human body: skin, brain, heart, muscle tissue — every cell. There is no disputing this scientific fact. “People” do not conceive, carry to full term, and go into labor. As a feminist, I do not understand why other women will not speak out for biological women and girls. Why must we permit language itself to deny who and what we are, and were from the instant we were conceived in our mother’s womb. Newspeak is the major thread that runs through George Orwell’s 1984; language becomes the means through which government can control its people. (And why the novel was written on the heels of publication of his excellent essay, “Politics and the English Language.” Read it. ) Reproductive Choice is a woman’s right. Period.

    • Celeste – it sounds like you have a lot of hang ups about transgender people. Why not allow people to be called whatever they’d like to be called. Who really cares? We all end up worm-dust in the end anyway. Does it trouble you that deeply – maybe time for some soul searching. There are a lot of better things to oneself with.

    • Celeste – time to walk out of the Stone Age. People have different gender identities than male or female regardless of their biological sex. Saying “individual” or “person” is being inclusive and welcoming to EVERYONE, something that’s kind and generous, right? Grow up Celeste.

    • Normally I refrain from replying to responses from my posts. But in this case, regarding “GeneralTree’s” comment about my lawsuit against SBCC in 2019, I shall. It’s important to correct misperceptions about the lawsuit and my motivation behind the action. First, mine was not the typical lawsuit against a governmental entity in which the plaintiff walks away with a wheelbarrow-ful of money. I sought no financial compensation, including for my legal counsel which I paid out of pocket. That’s information readily available in the paperwork. I did not receive a penny upon settlement, but I did receive much more: the upholding of the right to speak, and to do so without intimidation. I sued the college solely for recognition that my civil rights had been violated in two public meetings that year: February 2019 at the Trustees’ public meeting; in May at the Academic Senate meeting, also public. And, so that no one else would ever be shut down again at a public meeting on that campus.
      The right to speak during Public Comment is considered a sacred right in our country, one protected under the Bill of Rights, and here in California, under the Brown Act. Those rights were violated when faculty in the audience (NOT STUDENTS as has been erroneously reported) attempted to intimidate me and demand that the trustees shut me down — during Public Comment. When I attended the Academic Senate meeting in May, and again attempted to speak after being recognized for Public Comment, the attempt was made to silence lawful speech and then the AS president ordered the room cleared while I spoke — an egregious violation of the right to speak in a public assembly. Shortly before we were scheduled to go to court, the trustees settled on advice of their own attorneys. The college attorneys clearly understood that my rights had been violated. The decision that stands will protect every person who comes to speak before the trustees or any other publicly-noticed body at the college — including you, GeneralTree. That extends to any person: faculty member; student; community member; citizen or non-citizen. I’d also like to add this: If you attend an SBCC Board of Trustees meeting, you will find yourself seated in a large lecture hall. You will notice that the door to the classroom remains open throughout the proceedings. Folks are welcome to walk into the meeting room at any time and take a seat to observe college governance at work. Think about the fact that this scenario — replicated at public meetings everywhere in our country — is still rare in most of the world. I lived in East Berlin in 1988. When we would walk downtown past their city hall (“Rathaus”), I was always startled to see armed police guarding the entry. The right to speak when recognized, the right to attend public meetings without threat, those are precious rights. The faculty that attempted to deprive me of those rights set a terrible example to our students, and displayed themselves for what they were: a mob. I would do it again.

  9. SacJon you’re right, but it sure is awful when EdHat deletes comments simply because they contain a viewpoint that even slightly differs from that of it’s editorial staff – its a suppression of debate, it’s a suppression of speech. Debate and freedom of speech are essential for healthy democracy. When the left leaning media works so hard to suppress debate it engenders distrust. What’s wrong with just talking about issues? I guess that’s just not allowed in todays ever enlightened progressive world.

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