Annenberg Radio News

Prop One seeks to protect the right to abortion in the California Constitution

Prop One is on the midterm election ballot and will be decided Tuesday, November 8

A photo of multiple pins that say "Vote" in red, white, and blue

At least 5 crisis pregnancy centers are active in LA as of August of this year. Women who are seeking information about abortions might find themselves at one of these crisis centers. And instead of learning about healthcare options, they are met by a counselor who tries to talk them out of it.

Mike Feuer: When it comes to a pregnancy. Time is essential and truth is essential.

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer wants to keep women informed and says these crisis centers are aiming to mislead. That’s why he introduced legislation that prevents these centers from using deceptive advertising and allows patients to sue organizations that have misinformed them.

LA City Council passed Feuer’s legislation this week. And Feuer says this is a step in the right direction.

Mike Feuer: And that’s what this ordinance is about. It’s about deterring conduct that would mislead and empowering people who’ve been victimized if they have been misled, to take action so that there’s not another victim later on.

This decision comes just two weeks before California votes on Proposition 1 in the midterm elections. If passed, Prop 1 would change the California Constitution to say that the state cannot deny or interfere with a person’s reproductive freedom, like the right to abortion.

Could this legislation be an indication of how Angelenos will vote in November?

Cathren Cohen of UCLA’s Center for Reproductive Health believes that seeing people in power, like the city attorney, taking a stand on reproductive rights can have a massive effect on public perception.

Cathren Cohen: It’s also just valuable for people in positions of power like the city attorney or the state legislature or the governor. We’ve seen a lot doing a lot of this, too, to make really clear statements that they support abortion rights and that they’re not going to put up with the kinds of policies that we’re seeing introduced in anti by anti-choice legislators in other states. I think that has a really powerful anti stigma effect, and it’s also just valuable because people are very confused about what the law is right now. And so I think getting the message out that abortion remains safe and legal in California and in L.A. County is a really important piece of public education.

But opponents of Prop 1 believe it to be extreme, expensive and unnecessary. Catherine Hadro, spokesperson for No on Prop 1, worries about the strain this type of legislation could have on the state’s healthcare system.

Catherine Hadro: We’re seeing the governor place commercials in Florida and Texas telling people to come to California. We just recently saw him place billboards in seven other states telling women to come to California for abortions. Late term abortions take place in hospitals. They are expensive and there are very serious procedures when you invite that kind of out-of-state chaos into our already overburdened hospital system. That’s going to be an impact that every single Californian feels when it comes to their health care. And so we’re saying there are issues here in California that we need to have addressed. Abortion is going to remain legal here in California. And this is a non problem that we’re throwing money at. And it’s our taxpayer money.

But Feuer doesn’t see it that way. He sees legislation as essential in securing reproductive freedom.

Mike Feuer: I want to ensure that in Los Angeles, no woman is misled when it comes to exercising these most intimate choices.

Because Feuer attached an urgency clause to this legislation, this law is expected to take effect after Mayor Garcetti signs it. Prop 1 is on the midterm election ballot and will be decided on November 8th.

For Annenberg Media, I’m Rachel Hallett.