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Parental notification -- again!

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.

 

Comments () | Archives (6)

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Phylicia

Whats up with bringing defeated bills back? Similar situation happened in Va where some people re-introduced a state-wide abortion ban. Of course it was defeated for the second time. Prop 73 is a little sneaky to me. Vote NO.

WTJ

I lean toward pro-choice, yet I still have to agree with the legislatures that parental notification should be mandated. Notification does NOT mean that the parents have the right to force a girl to bring the pregnancy to term, but they have the right to know. Privacy advocates say teens have a right keep their activities private; and, I counter with the parents also have the right to know that their teens (their moral, health, financial responsibility) is engaged in risky behavior, such as unprotected sex.

Fresno Markey

After maintaining political consciousness of the social psychology of these fear mongers for more than 40 years, I still do not understand them. Why do they simply not understand that teenagers are going to have unprotected sex and get pregnant? These children are unloved and fearful and will seek and find the affection that their unloving parents are not providing. It is not only adolescent angst that makes these teens anxious and depressed. It is the ignorance of their parents who did the same thing that they are doing now, looking for love via intercourse.
After their mistake is realized, the girls will abort the fetus, whether it is legal or whether it becomes the back alley abortionaist or the motel rusty wire coat hanger that kills them.

Heather

Consider for a moment that this proposed law could be a matter of life or death for the pregnant teen. Most people can agree that the life of the pregnant teen matters, whether her choice is to continue with a pregnancy or to abort it.

This proposed law for parental consent appears to be good intentioned. The law encourages communication between parent and child, right? How can that be a bad thing? Most parents want their child to come to them with such significant, life altering issues. Good intentioned parents want to help guide their child through the tough times in life. Parents want to protect their children. Few parents, if any, would ever want their child to go through such an emotional experience on his or her own. Making it a law for teens to talk with their parents is not going to make it happen. Improved communication between parent and child is not the result of any law; it requires much more than a law. Parents must continue to do everything in their power to improve communication, but making it a law is not the answer.

Additionally, parental consent can put a pregnant teen’s life at greater risk. If it becomes law, a pregnant teen may be forced to confront abusive parents. This argument has been made before which is why the proposed law includes a judicial bypass for teens that fear for their safety. This amendment is simply not sufficient. Would the average adult know where to go or how to attempt obtaining a judicial bypass? The answer is likely, no. If an adult has difficulty navigating the judicial system, just imagine how much more difficult it would be for a teenager. Now consider the additional emotional and physical stresses that a pregnant teen has to deal with. It is simply not realistic to believe that many teens would know how to obtain a judicial bypass. Teens that are in potentially abusive households are the least likely to figure it all out. These teens simply have too many other pressures already.
Inevitably, the process of applying for and obtaining a judicial bypass will take time. How much time, depends on many factors. Time is of the essence when contemplating a decision about pregnancy. If the teen chooses to abort, the procedure is safest during the first trimester. The further along the pregnancy is when the teen figures out she is pregnant can have a direct impact on how long she gives herself to make a decision. If the teen denies her reality for any period of time, even more time passes. It is common for pregnant teens to avoid dealing with their reality, especially in the first couple of months. Some teens may have thought about the possibility of pregnancy, but few have any idea how emotional and difficult it can be until they actually experience it. After all that, she may still want to discuss her situation with people she trusts. Processing her reality and considering all the possibilities can take time. Time passes and before she realizes it, she quickly approaches the end of her first trimester. Again, if a decision is made to abort, it is safest during the first trimester.

Remember the days of back-alley abortions? Access to legal clinics reduces incidents of deaths caused by back-alley abortions. Access to educated, unbiased adults can also help reduce incidents of deaths and injuries caused by teens attempting to abort on their own. Some babies born with deformities and/or brain damage can also be attributed to people that attempted to self-initiate a miscarriage. Fear and shame are the primary cause of these indiscriminate acts. Teens in fear for their lives are more prone to turn to such options without legal access to educated adults and clinics.

In summary, parental consent is more about the safety of minors than how one feels about abortion. I share these thoughts because I was a pregnant teen. I was fortunate to have educated adults to talk with. Some of my friends were not so lucky. I chose to continue with my pregnancy but I was grateful to have a choice. Every situation and individual is unique. Consider the safety of teens before making a decision about how you vote.

zerothis

Duh! Its not the same as the defeated ballot. That one required parental notification in ALL situations, with NO EXCEPTIONS. As in, father rapes daughter, daughter runs away, tries to get abortion, doctor MUST NOTIFY the abusive father of exactly where she is and give him 24 hours to find her. The *new* version allows exceptions if they are in the best interests of the child.
Does anybody actually ever _read_ the measures they vote on? They should have a proposal to ban the ignorant from voting. Call it "Ban Voting Stupid Voters Initiative" and all the stupid voters are sure to pass it.

MCITP

It is really wonderful post. It is very interesting to read the parent notification.Thanks for sharing such a post.Keep on posting.It is very informative.


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