Women

Women: 1967

Therapeutic Abortion Act is enacted, allowing women for the first time to obtain legal abortions in the state albeit under restrictive circumstances, including appearing before and gaining approval from a 3-doctor panel.

Women: 1969

Three abortion rights advocates are convicted of violating the law against advertising abortion.

California Supreme Court becomes the first state court in the country to strike down a criminal abortion statute in People v. Belous.

Women: 1971

California Supreme Court rules in Sail’er Inn v. Kirby that laws preventing women from full participation in the workplace are impermissible.

Women: 1972

Voters pass an initiative adding a guarantee of privacy to the California Constitution; this amendment later becomes the basis to protect a woman’s right to choose.

State supreme court, in People v. Barksdale, eliminates the section of the Therapeutic Abortion Act requiring women to appear before a 3-doctor panel.

Congress passes the Equal Rights Amendment; California is one of the states that ratifies it.  However, it was never added to the Constitution as it failed to receive ratification from 38 states within the allotted period of time.

Women: 1973

State court of appeal reverses the convictions of three abortion advocates convicted in 1969, ruling that the law barring distribution of information violates the First Amendment.

Women: 1978

Legislature’s Joint Committee on Legal Equality combs through the statute books and finds 400 gender discriminatory laws, most of which were repealed or amended in one fell swoop.

Legislature enacts the Pregnancy Disability Leave Act providing job-protected leave for pregnant workers.

Women: 1981

Comparable worth regulations are mandated for women workers in female-dominated arenas of state employment; but 4 years later, a state commission finds that women still earn only 60 cents for every dollar earned by men.

California Supreme Court rules in Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights v. Myers that the state cannot cut off Medicaid funding for abortions for indigent women.

Women: 1982

Lillian Garland sues Cal Fed for refusing to let her return to her job after a pregnancy leave, in violation of California's Pregnancy Disability Leave Act; Cal Fed, joined by the state Chamber of Commerce, sues the state of California over the law, and the cases go to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upholds the law in 1987.

Women: 1987

In an opinion by Justice Thurgood Marshall, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that California’s pregnancy-leave law is legal, and that the federal law sets a floor not a ceiling for rights.

Legislature enacts a law requiring teenagers to have parental or judicial consent before they can obtain an abortion.

Women: 1990

A state court of appeal rules in FEHC v. Johnson Controls that workplace rules that discriminate against women because they may become pregnant are illegal; in 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court maintains the same position.

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