A legislative effort that would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks has failed, but advocates at a press conference in Los Angeles declared the measure as the next “gold standard” in abortion restrictions, and have vowed to continue to push for the ban as the year progresses.
Opponents of the bill, which would have required doctors to perform ultrasounds and tell women that the fetus can feel pain, declared victory, saying it marked a victory for patients and medicine, and a defeat for political extremism.
“We were able to not only get rid of 20-week abortion bans in the very most progressive states in the country, but in many cases the bills were put on hold for six months. That’s a clear victory for everyone who cares about reproductive health and rights,” said Corinne Chen, a spokeswoman for the national abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America.
The event, attended by both anti-abortion advocates and supporters of reproductive rights, was the climax of a month of very high-profile gun control measures in California, with the most prominent legislation being a ban on assault weapons and ammunition sales in the Golden State.
The abortion measure had strong opposition from many outside groups, including a coalition of California women’s groups, which had campaigned against it and sent out a blistering letter denouncing the ban as illegal and unconstitutional.
“Other states, well, they’re states where you can see them off the coast of Hawaii, and California says we don’t want any sex workers here,” said Dr. Katherine Suhr, co-director of the LA Women’s Clinic, who said the media sent her into activism in part because of the activism of Planned Parenthood supporters, and also because of the 1984 women’s march on Washington.
Jennifer Sopa, the California organizer for the March on Washington organizers, said that in many ways, the fight to maintain women’s rights was more important than the fight to control abortion. In California, she said, people “don’t want their rights stripped away, you know, some of the same rights that brought us together in the first place.”