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The Inconsistency of California Laws and
the Value of the Unborn
Bernadette Tasy, M.A. | 02 April 2020
Summary: Though California is America’s leading abortion provider and protector, it does not completely ignore the value of the unborn. While advocating for abortion on college campuses and attempting to force pro-life churches to cover abortion in their insurance plans, the state also treats fetal homicide as murder and protects incarcerated pregnant women from being tasered in an unspoken effort to protect the health of the unborn baby.
California is the nation’s leader in finding creative ways to further the abortion agenda. It is the only state listed as “very supportive” of abortion rights in the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute’s latest analysis of state abortion laws.[i] It is also known for defying constitutionally-protected freedoms and pinning itself as authority for moral guidance; however, it does not completely ignore the value of the unborn.
Surprisingly, California still treats fetal homicide as murder.[ii] In December 2019, a man in Bakersfield was charged with murder after he forced his girlfriend to swallow abortion pills at gunpoint.[iii] Laws are continuously proposed to protect the unborn child, including an active bill that has not yet reached the governor’s desk, Assembly Bill 732.[iv] If passed, this bill would “prohibit the use of tasers, pepper spray, or other chemical weapons against incarcerated pregnant persons.” Though nothing specifies protections for the unborn child, it is clear that these restrictions are put in place to ensure the best possible health for the baby.[v]
This same bill that protects the unborn from abuse also reads, “…A condition or restriction shall not be imposed upon the obtaining of an abortion by an incarcerated person, pursuant to the Reproductive Privacy Act…” In California, you “cannot” provide life-affirming resources without providing an equal or greater amount of life-ending resources.
Unfortunately, the state is also known for starting legislative trends concerning healthcare, abortion, and other issues; one such trend began when the nation’s most abortion-friendly state introduced Senate Bill 320 (now Senate Bill 24), the Campus Abortion Bill.[vi] Although vetoed by former governor, Jerry Brown in 2018, this bill, signed by the current governor, Gavin Newsom, will force all 34 public universities in California to distribute RU-486 abortion drugs, which kill an unborn child up to 10 weeks after conception, from their student health centers on campus. Similar bills have already been introduced in both Massachusetts and New York.[vii]
Throughout the advancement of this bill and many others, pro-abortion legislators in California regularly exhausted the phrase “constitutionally protected right to abortion.”[viii] Though the “right” to take the life of an unborn human being was, at best, only found in the penumbra – shadow - of the constitution, these legislators do not seem to generalize their logic elsewhere. They use the abortion agenda to infringe on honest, legitimate constitutional rights, such as conscience rights, freedom of speech, and religious freedom, all protected by the First Amendment.
In 2014, the California Department of Managed Healthcare named abortion a “basic health service,” requiring all insurance plans to cover abortion; this includes private sources, such as churches and other religious organizations.[ix] Alliance Defending Freedom and other legal groups have since filed a complaint, and this year, President Trump issued a statement threatening to remove federal funding from any state forcing private employers to cover abortion in their insurance plans.[x]
In 2015, the California legislature passed AB-775, the “Reproductive Fact Act,” forcing all medical pregnancy resource centers to advertise information on how to obtain an abortion.[xii] Pro-life pregnancy centers exist to help women to choose life over abortion. In this case, the government forced them to use their platform to further the pro-abortion agenda, a blatant violation of the First Amendment. Fortunately, in 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pro-life pregnancy centers’ free speech; but California continues to challenge our nation’s core values.
In 2018 and 2019, a legislative analysis for the aforementioned Campus Abortion Bill revealed that the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) public school systems stated that they would likely need student fees to fund the abortion program.[xiii] Though the bill says that student fees and general funds are not "require[d]," the bill does not prohibit the use of these funding sources. If student fees are raised for this new program, not only will this contradict one of the formally stated motivating factors for implementing the policy—to save students money—it would also violate the rights of students who do not wish to contribute financially to the cost of an abortion. Beyond this, the argument may also be made that student fees and tuition have already contributed to funding the abortions because they have funded the building, several of the necessary staff members, and much of the equipment needed for the program.
Nevertheless, it is not just California that does not wish to seek a logical conclusion regarding abortion. Under federal law, a woman is allowed full bodily autonomy in regards to ending the life of an unborn baby. Still, it does not endorse a woman’s decision to malform the unborn baby. Thalidomide, a drug used in the 1960s to treat morning sickness, was never approved by the FDA for use in the United States because it caused deformities in the unborn. And Isotretinoin (also known as Accutane), a drug used to treat acne, is heavily restricted by the FDA because it also causes fetal deformities.[xiv] Why are we willing to protect some unborn lives from malformations but not others from certain death?
Though our political leaders’ extremist and hypocritical statements may discourage the pro-life movement, these inconsistencies can help the public to recognize the holes in the pro-abortion argument. Once we find an opening, we can change one mind at a time, knowing that one day soon, our country will once again become a nation for all, not just for some.
Bernadette Tasy, M.A., President of Fresno Pro-Life Future, California State Captain, Students for Life Action - @BernadetteTasy