Skip to comments.CA: Abortion opponents hope to limit access for California girls (Prop 73)
Posted on 09/17/2005 9:11:05 PM PDT by calcowgirl
SAN FRANCISCO -- Abortion opponents in California have tried for over two decades to make it harder for girls to terminate pregnancies without their parents' knowledge. In the special election called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, they may finally get their chance.
Among the most hotly contested of the eight initiatives on the November ballot is a constitutional amendment that would require doctors to give parents or guardians written notice 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor.
Adults would not have to consent to the procedure, but sponsors hope the notification requirement would reduce California's teen abortion rate -- the nation's fourth-highest -- by getting parents in on the decision.
"The idea is to create a waiting or reflection period so in principle, there is time for a parent to be involved and do some counseling," said Albin Rhomberg, a spokesman for Parents' Right to Know, the group behind Proposition 73.
If the measure passes, California would become the 16th state with a parental notification law (another 19 require parental consent.) But given its size, "blue" state sensibilities and status among the dwindling number of states where girls have unfettered access to abortion, national abortion rights advocates are concerned, especially as President Bush fills two vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I hope it's not a bellwether and I hope it doesn't pass," said Dr. Wendy Chavkin, chairwoman of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, which is dispatching doctors to debates and public meetings as part of the No on 73 campaign.
Though opponents are optimistic that the amendment will fail, Californians have expressed conservative leanings at the ballot box before, and the notion of parental notification resonates with many voters who favor legalized abortion, but don't think it's out of line for the state to help a 13-year-old's parents learn that she's pregnant.
According to a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, 70 percent of likely voters would not support overturning Roe. v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision guaranteeing the right to abortion. But the same poll found voters more evenly divided on Proposition 73, with 48 percent opposing the parental notification requirement and 44 percent supporting it.
"This is about parents' rights," said Cindy Moles, who directs the anti-abortion group Concerned Women of America's activities in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties. "In California you can't let your daughter get her ears pierced without parental permission, and yet she can get a not insignificant surgical procedure with someone else making the decisions."
While previous efforts to get such a measure before voters have failed, backers think their timing's right this time. The million-dollar signature-gathering effort was underwritten by three wealthy patrons -- San Diego newspaper publisher James Holman, vintner Don Sebastiani and Dominos Pizza founder Tom Monaghan -- whose deep pockets may be tapped again in the weeks ahead to sell the amendment to voters.
The most recent campaign finance reports show Proposition 73 supporters raised and spent $985,854 between the beginning of the year and June 30. Opponents had raised only $143,676 and spent $314,524. Both sides said they expect spending patterns to equalize, but with national groups preoccupied with the Supreme Court nominations, out-of-state resources might be limited.
Sponsors initially planned to have Californians vote on the measure next June, but it got swept onto the Nov. 8 ballot when Schwarzenegger called the special election. Tied as the election is to the governor's own fading star, his Republican supporters, who also are more likely to support restrictions on abortion, may be more motivated to show up to vote.
The proposal contains several exceptions to the two-day advance notification -- a doctor could perform an abortion in a medical emergency, for example, and a judge could waive the requirement on a case-by-case basis. But abortion rights activists worry that some of the detailed requirements and language spelled out in the measure are overly restrictive and make it unnecessarily difficult for a girl with a troubled home life to petition a court for a waiver.
Equally disturbing to Maggie Crosby, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, is a clause in the amendment defining abortion as a procedure that "causes the death of the unborn child." Inserting that label into the state Constitution, rather than a medical term such as fetus or embryo, "can have far-reaching consequences on everything from stem cell research to fertility treatments and it's totally unnecessary to the definition of abortion," Crosby said.
Proposition 73's opponents plan to focus on the reluctance many voters have to amend a document as binding as a constitution.
"People realize you can't amend the Constitution to force teens to talk to their parents," said Kathy Kneer, executive director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.
On the Net:
Free contraception. It's the best way to prevent abortions.
un-f-ing believable. This is some of the best Orwellian language twisting I've ever read in an alleged "news" story.
Why not just give out cigarettes, since it increases the risk of miscarriage anyway.
the state to help a 13-year-old's parents learn that she's pregnant.
Prop 73 will be an uphill climb. Hopefully it can find some traction. Of course, it'll be no time before the black robes smack down the Will of the People. Again.
To even the playing field created by the 'sexual revolution', males need a highly reliable non-barrier method of contraception.
Even on top of all these things, without a cultural shift especially among those in the black community there will still be a majority situation of unwed motherhood. Culturally, the black male looks down on contraception in general and condoms especially.
I admit, I skipped the article imagining exactly what you described. You confirmed my suspicions. I don't need to expose myself to their reeducation down-is-up language.
The souless liberal judges see the simple solution to an unwanted child as abortion. To this demon in a black robe a child in the womb in not a legal citizen and has no right to life.
How much smaller an issue for a liberal judge must be a father's right to know his daughter is legally killing his grandchild. Non-existent I should think.
This will end someday. Sooner rather than later I believe.
If voters who really care about teens and the communication they need with their parents can get the word out, and not allow Planned Parenthood to act as surrogate parents (God forbid), then maybe we can get the voters educated about the necessity of passing Prop 73! Write letters to the editor of the paper, talk to people about the need for parent/teen cooperation and discussion in a time of personal crisis. Don't leave your teen's relationship with her parents up to the big business of PP with their skilled marketing talent and slick ads!
I agree. Free vasectomies for boys/men is the ticket.
You forgot the BARF ALERT. This paragraph made me hurl.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
[Its not about abortion but about parental consent. Teenagers need parental permission to take a tablet of aspirin. They ought to have to obtain it when it involves potentially life-threatening surgery.]
Simple, short, and true.
Why bother? Any of these propositions, approved by their voting public, that actually "does" anything decent, will be declared unconstitutional.
I like the idea of Prop 73, but I'm not sure how the provisions will be enforced.
How will the doctors know if/when the parents have received the written notices? If they are sent by mail, the children could intercept the notices, and the parents would never know. If the parents must sign to indicate they have received the notice, perhaps the children could forge the signatures unless the note deliverers require someone over 21 to accept them (like with alcoholic beverages by mail order), or the pro-abortionists might say it's unfair if parents refuse to sign.
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