With Trump’s conservative Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh posing a looming threat to reproductive rights, it is more important than ever that states work to expand and protect women’s and reproductive rights in their own jurisdictions. This year, California is considering legislation that would expand access to abortion and work towards justice for survivors of sexual abuse.
Providing Abortion at Universities
In July, the Supreme Court struck down a California law that would have prevented anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” from misleading women about abortion and reproductive health. California already has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country, and this year is looking to expand access to abortion at public universities.
SB 320 would require every student health center at a public university to offer abortion by medication. Medication abortion allows a woman to take two drugs to end a pregnancy under 10 weeks. Private donors have already agreed to pay for the implementation of the bill if it passes.
SB 320 has passed through the full Senate and Assembly policy committees. Next, it will have a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which will consider the fiscal impact of the bill. If it passes through that committee, it will head to the full Assembly floor where it must pass before August 31st.
Ending the Rape Kit Backlog
There are thousands of untested rape kits in California. Every untested rape kit represents a survivor of sexual abuse who has not received justice. This is a failure of our criminal justice to prioritize justice for survivors of sexual abuse. Last year, California took the first step by passing AB 41, which requires law enforcement to document newly received rape kits. (Yes, it’s crazy that there was no documentation before).
This year, California is continuing its work on this issue with bills that will audit the existing backlog and require testing of outstanding kits.
- AB 3118 would require a statewide audit of the existing rape kit backlog since, AB 41 only applied to rape kits obtained after January 1, 2018.
- SB 1449 would finally mandate that all rape kits be tested.
AB 3118 and SB 1449 have passed through the floor of their chamber of origin (Assembly for AB 3118 and Senate for SB 1449). Next, they will have a hearing in the Appropriations Committees of the second chamber, which will consider the fiscal impact of the bill. If they pass, they will head to the full Senate (AB 3118) and Assembly (SB 1449) floors, where they must pass before August 31st.