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Parental notification -- again!

May 30, 2008 |  6:11 pm

It's a California phenomenon more predictable than earthquake, drought or wildfire: a ballot measure to require parental notification, or some kind of emergency waiver, or both, before a minor girl can get an abortion.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced today that she has certified a parental notification initiative for the Nov. 4 presidential ballot. Here it is:

WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR’S PREGNANCY.  CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.  Amends California Constitution to prohibit abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent, legal guardian or, if parental abuse reported, an adult family member.  Provides exceptions for medical emergency or parental waiver.  Permits courts to waive notice based on clear and convincing evidence of minor’s maturity or best interests.  Mandates reporting requirements, including reports from physicians regarding abortions on minors.  Authorizes monetary damages against physicians for violation.  Requires minor’s consent to abortion, with exceptions.  Permits judicial relief if minor’s consent is coerced.  Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst  and  Director  of  Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government:

Potential unknown net state costs of several million dollars annually for health and social services programs, court administration, and state health agency administration combined.

So -- is the parental notification measure, together with a (likely) referendum asking Californians to overturn the state Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage, going to draw enough voters to give John McCain a good shot at the state's electoral vote? Or will enthusiasm over Barack Obama -- OK, or Hillary Clinton, it's still technically possible -- be enough to help kill both ballot measures? Things are getting interesting.

Californians defeated parental consent or notification for abortion measures in 2005 (Proposition 73) and 2006 (Proposition 85). I guess we had last year off for good behavior.

Already on the November ballot are a bond measure for a high-speed rail system, a children's hospital bond, and an initiative to require better treatment of farm animals. Others you can expect: The same-sex marriage referendum; at least one redistricting reform; a prison bond; perhaps a legislative foster-care funding measure; and those are just the state measures. Check Bowen's office for details. Oh, yeah, we're also electing a president that day.

Get up to date on all things election -- for November, for next Tuesday, for next March -- at Vote-o-rama.

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