The politics of Prop 1: Critics question why rallies needed

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Thursday, November 3, 2022
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A Fresno political rally on Wednesday pushed for 'yes' votes to protect abortion rights, but opponents say the measure is already guaranteed to pass.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno political rally on Wednesday pushed for 'yes' votes to protect abortion rights, but opponents say the measure is already guaranteed to pass, and the rally had a different goal.

The June Supreme Court decision undoing Roe v. Wade served as a warning shot for abortion rights supporters in California, including Fresno pastor Tim Kutzmark.

"The decision to seek an abortion is a private matter between an individual and their doctor," said Kutzmark, who leads the Unitarian Universalist congregation in northeast Fresno. "And for some, (the decision includes) their clergy person and their God."

Kutzmark may be in the minority on the issue among clergy members.

The Catholic diocese and several evangelical leaders oppose abortion and Prop 1.

Pastor Jim Franklin warns the proposition could open the door to late-term abortions.

"Proposition 1 says it will be full-term for any reason," said Franklin, who leads the congregation at Cornerstone Church in downtown Fresno. "That's not what Californians want."

The proposition doesn't explicitly set restrictions on abortion, but several constitutional experts say it won't expand abortion beyond what's currently allowed in California.

After a fetus reaches viability - usually at about 24 weeks - abortions are only legal to protect the health of the mother.

State Senator Anna Caballero says it's important for voters to understand Prop 1 doesn't change the law. It just enshrines the current rules into the state constitution.

"It's really easy to spread misinformation now, and we want the community to know exactly what this is all about," said Caballero, (D) Merced.

Statewide polling by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California shows overwhelming support for Prop 1 at almost 70%.

So opponents say a rally like the one in northeast Fresno Wednesday isn't really necessary.

Franklin suspects Democrats are hoping the proposition has coattails carrying candidates in closer races to victory.

"I think the Left has made this the only issue they have that they think they can rally that type of support," the pastor said. "They're losing every other way - from inflation to crime to immigration -- the polls all go against them."

Election Day is this coming Tuesday.

Most voters should've already gotten ballots in the mail and anyone can go to a vote center and cast their ballots any day up until Tuesday. You can find a vote center near you from the Fresno County Elections Office by clicking here.