Perspective: Cement our rights

Amid confusion and fear, let’s put abortion in the constitution

Across the country, the state of abortion rights is uncertain, confusing, and frankly, terrifying. Luckily, even after Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, I’ve known my rights are safe in California. Still, when Proposition 1 — the Right to Reproductive Freedom Amendment — was introduced to November’s ballot, I knew it had to pass. 

A “Yes” vote on this proposition will cement a constitutional amendment in California protecting the right to abortion. Passing Proposition 1 would provide a feeling of security and normality in such a time of uncertainty. While a “No” vote wouldn’t necessarily roll back reproductive rights, it would not provide the permanent protection California needs.

Most other states don’t have the right to vote on a proposition like this — Vermont and Michigan are the exceptions. For the rest, the choice has already been made. So Californians have the obligation to exercise their right to vote in ways others cannot, at least for now.

“I’m pretty jealous of you guys right now. I wish that we [Texans] could do something like that.”

— Malvika Pradhan, 16-year-old Texan

“I’m pretty jealous of you guys right now,” said 16-year-old Texan Malvika Pradhan to me after hearing about Proposition 1. “I wish that we [Texans] could do something like that.”

Voting “Yes” on this amendment will also preserve reproductive rights if something were to change in California, according to Toni Atkins, president pro tempore of the California state senate. 

We must protect the right to essential services like abortion and contraceptives so that no matter what political party is in control, or who sits on the courts, abortion access will be preserved in California,” Atkins wrote in the San Diego Tribune. 

Our decisions this November will also have major ramifications for future generations. 

“Proposition 1 will ensure that in California, we don’t retreat to the dark days of desperate decisions, but instead prepare for the future, because our children shouldn’t have fewer rights today than their grandparents did in the 1970s,” Atkins wrote. 

For many students at Palo Alto High School, this November will be the first time they can exercise their right to vote, and they have the chance to defend the rights of future generations. Although I’m not quite able to vote, I urge my friends and classmates who are to use their voices for this proposition.

The ballot’s nuanced propositions may seem daunting, especially to young voters, but all it takes is a fill-in of a bubble to vote. Proposition 1 is straightforward and will be right at the top.