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California Dems Wage Disinformation Battle Over Abortion Ballot Measure

California Democrats are making misleading claims about Proposition 1, a ballot measure that would add an explicit right to abortion in the state’s constitution, according to statements and documents reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Supporters of Proposition 1 have claimed that the measure is needed in order to keep abortion legal and that it won’t result in late-term abortions after the point of viability, but various sources, including a government-controlled voter guide and the text of the measure itself, undercut these talking points. Opponents of the measure say California law already allows abortion and that Proposition 1 would allow unlimited late-term abortions, wouldn’t stop taxpayer money from funding abortions and would likely wind up in court, where a judge would ultimately decide its fate.

“Where Prop 1 politicians are held legally accountable, they have repeatedly refused to comment on the viability question or, in the case of Dr. Gupta, have outright admitted that Prop 1 intentionally removes the viability standard,” the No on Prop. 1 campaign said in a statement shared with the DCNF. “In forums where they are not held legally accountable, misleading or completely false talking points are presented as assurances that Prop 1 would not expand late-term abortions in this state.” 

Dr. Pratima Gupta, one of the authors of Proposition 1, said language about fetal viability was intentionally left out of the measure.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said Proposition 1 wouldn’t allow late-term abortions, but the measure creates an explicit constitutional right to abortion and does not set any limits. His claim is contradicted by information in the California Voter Info Guide, and elected officials including him are responsible for challenging any inaccurate information in the guide, according to No on Prop. 1, the campaign opposing the measure.

“California law already allows access to abortion and contraception,” constitutional attorney Heather Hacker wrote in the California Voter Info Guide. “But unlike state law, which limits late-term abortions unless medically necessary, Proposition 1 has no limit on late-term abortions.”

Democratic California State Sen. Toni Atkins said Proposition 1 was essential to “protect the rights of all people to make choices about their bodies,” but abortion is already legal in California for any reason until the point of viability and is allowed even after a child can survive outside the womb if the pregnancy endangers a mother’s life or health.

“Existing California laws provide that every individual has a fundamental right to privacy in their personal reproductive decisions, which includes the fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives,” the California Voter Info Guide reads.

Democratic representative on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Joan Hartmannn and Democratic candidate for the 37th Assembly District Gregg Hart said the right to abortion protects the health of vulnerable women and suggested it could bring down the maternal mortality rate. In reality, California law already allows abortion at any stage of pregnancy when a mother’s health is at risk.

Hart, Hartmann, Atkins, Bonta and the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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