LOS ANGELES - Today, Californian's right to make private childbearing decisions free of government interference became law as Governor Gray Davis signed a historic bill that is widely supported by a broad coalition of women's groups, heath-care providers and civil rights organizations. The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California's Latina Rights Project was a main supporter of the bill and worked to mobilize community support and awareness by holding a bilingual community forum on access to reproductive health care.
Senator Sheila Kuehl sponsored the legislation, SB 1301, also known as the Reproductive Privacy Act. The act will update California's outdated and largely unconstitutional 1967 abortion law to reflect the principles of Roe v. Wade. Kuehl's bill will protect Californian's right to choose abortion and make child bearing decisions. Under the new law, women will be provided greater access to early, non-surgical abortion methods by expanding the number of qualified clinicians authorized to provide non-surgical abortions.
"This is a tremendous victory for California women," said Rocio Cordoba, Director of the ACLU/SC's Latina Rights Project. "In California, Latinas make up the largest portion of women without health insurance; this bill will make safe, non-surgical methods of abortion another option available to women are in serious need of health services."