Capitol Alert

Abortion would be first-degree murder under California proposal

California supporters of an incendiary statewide initiative aiming for the 2018 ballot to criminalize abortion as first-degree murder have been cleared to begin collecting signatures.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla, acting in his ministerial role as the state’s chief elections official, issued the announcement late Friday.

Should it reach the ballot, the measure is unlikely to pass in California, where polling has showed strong support for abortion rights.

It also would undoubtedly be challenged on constitutional grounds because it eliminates a woman’s constitutional privacy right to end a pregnancy. The measure, in addition, seeks to expand the definition of abortion to include some forms of birth control as well as medical research and in vitro fertilization.

Daniel Ehinger, the proponent, could not immediately be reached for comment. He needs to gather 585,407 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago