Nicholas Goldberg: Karen Bass says she’ll protect Angelenos’ abortion rights. But can the mayor of L.A. really do that?
On the campaign trail, Mayor Eric Garcetti has been trying to convince Californians that he is the guy to “fix” government.
But when it comes to the issue of abortion, the mayor’s record would seem to suggest that he is not nearly as committed to the cause.
In early 2014, Garcetti signed a bill aimed at protecting a woman’s right to an abortion by making it illegal for health care providers to deny her care based on her gender.
A week later, after the bill was signed, a letter addressed to Garcetti from the American Civil Liberties Union urged the mayor to rescind the law, saying it violated both state and federal law.
“California laws prohibit medical personnel from discriminating based on gender and require that all qualified health care providers perform a lawful abortion procedure consistent with the patient’s gender,” the letter read. “The bill now before you would further impermissibly discriminate against a woman who wishes to have an abortion.”
In mid-July, Garcetti signed the legislation into law.
“In this bill, I am signing a bill that will protect a woman’s right to choose and ensure that health care providers are not subjected to discrimination,” Garcetti said at the time.
But Garcetti has repeatedly refused to back up that pledge. Indeed, last month, he told the Los Angeles Times he wouldn’t sign his name to a bill that would protect the rights of transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.
“It’s an issue that really has become important for us,” Garcetti said. “It’s just not possible for us to pass this bill just for transgender people.”
A former City Council member, Garcetti represents the fifth-most-populous municipality in the United States outside of New York City (more than 300,000 people); the Los Angeles metropolitan area is nearly two-thirds Hispanic.
And yet he has struggled to craft simple, clear, and bipartisan policy positions during his time in office.
For the most part, he has opted for the most complicated of options: He has spoken out against gay marriage, he has taken the unusual step of using federal funds