Advocates for reproductive rights are endorsing Rob Bonta in his re-election bid for California Attorney General, and calling out other candidates for not supporting efforts to expand access to abortion in the state.
“I cannot overemphasize the importance at this moment of having a champion for reproductive freedom in the Office of Attorney General in California, and that attorney general is Rob Bonta,” said Shannon Olivieri Hovis with NARAL Pro-Choice California.
Bonta is the only Democrat in the race, but advocates say he’s also the only one who’s spoken in favor of expanding reproductive care — and legal protections — in California.
Hovis praised Bonta for filing an amicus brief against a Mississippi law at the center of the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion nationwide.
“At the Department of Justice, we've moved aggressively to defend abortion rights and take on states who have limited abortion access,” Bonta said. “It’s why this race is so important this year.”
He has also issued legal alerts to prevent local prosecutors in California from charging a mother with fetal murder if their child is stillborn. A bill in the state Legislature would no longer treat stillbirths as "unattended deaths," but drew hundreds of anti-abortion demonstrators to the state Capitol this week.
Advocates have praised those measures and called on the other candidates in the race to do more. They said Republicans Nathan Hochman and Eric Early, along with Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who is running as an independent, did not respond to their questions about whether they would continue efforts to defend reproductive rights in California.
“These candidates are just severely out of step and it’s not surprising that they’ve been silent,” Hovis said. “But it is shameful, especially in a state like California and especially in a national moment like this.”
According to a July survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 79% of adults in the state do not want to see Roe. v. Wade overturned.
Schubert said in a statement that she supports a person’s right to get an abortion.
“If a woman from another state wishes to come to California to exercise that right, I support that. But I don’t think California should be paying for it,” she said.
Early said he would review the Supreme Court decision when it comes down and that he is “pro-life.” Hochman did not respond to a request for comment.
Jodi Hicks, Presdent and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, took issue with Schubert’s statement about using state funds to pay for abortions.
“The stakes have never been higher and what we don't need is an attorney general that silent on issue of abortion rights, and we don't need an attorney general that has qualifiers,” she said.
As the Supreme Court considers the Mississippi law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, states including Texas and Oklahoma have moved to severely restrict abortion. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will implement “trigger laws” in a number of other states to criminalize or restrict the procedure.
According to the Guttmaccher Institute, an abortion-rights research group, California would become the closest state to obtain a legal abortion for more than 1.4 million patients if Roe v. Wade is thrown out.
Hicks said California has already seen an increase in patients from Texas and expects more if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Mississippi law.
In preparation for a potential flood of new patients, California lawmakers are considering several bills to expand abortion access, including an abortion fund for lower-income patients.
Gov. Gavin Newsom last month signed a bill to prevent insurance companies for charging out-of-pocket costs for an abortion.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.