Abortion Rights at Center of Debate in Legislature
Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) has delayed a floor vote on a bill (SB 850) that would permit the state to issue certificates of still birth while he tries to negotiate with advocates on both sides of the abortion-rights debate, Copley/San Diego Union-Tribune reports. However, the Senate could vote on the measure as early as Monday because of deadlines for forwarding legislation to the Assembly.
Groups that oppose abortion rights withdrew their support for the bill after it was amended to include language defining still birth as "the delivery of a fetus where there was a naturally occurring intrauterine fetal death after a gestational age of not less than 20 completed weeks." In addition, a separate amendment to the bill affirms the Legislature's support for existing laws and court rulings related to a woman's right to abortion.
Abortion-rights supporters said such provisions were necessary to ensure that the bill could not be used to expand restrictions on abortions.
Given that Democrats who back abortion rights hold majorities in the California Senate and Assembly, the measure could be approved without votes from Republican lawmakers who oppose abortion rights.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who supports abortion rights, has not taken a position on the bill (Gardner, Copley/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/4).