Prop 85 - Parental Notification

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Prop 85 - Parental Notification

Postby lapoinma on Thu Sep 07, 2006 5:08 pm

Proposition 85 ?Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of a Minor?s Pregnancy.

by Greg Kamin

California law first addressed abortion rights in 1872, making abortion a crime punishable by 1 to 5 years in jail.

In 1953, the governor signed a law allowing minors to receive, without parental consent or notification, the same type of pregnancy-related medical care available to an adult. At the time, the law did not include abortion, which was still a crime.

In 1969, the California Supreme Court ruled that women have a fundamental right to an abortion. Based on this ruling, and the 1953 law, minors were now able to obtain an abortion without parental consent. In 1971, the California Supreme Court specifically affirmed this right, two years before the US Supreme Court?s landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling.

In 1979, the US Supreme Court ruled that a parent could not have an absolute veto over a minor?s decision to have an abortion, and that any parental notification law had to have provisions for confidential judicial review.

The California legislature began an effort to enact a parental notification law in the 1980s, passing a bill in 1987, which was signed into law. However, the law was never implemented due to legal challenges, and was ultimately found unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court on the grounds that it violated a minor?s right to privacy. Unlike the US constitution, the California constitution includes the right to privacy.

An effort to amend the California constitution by initiative, to allow parental notification, was undertaken in 2005 in the form of Proposition 73. That initiative failed by a vote of 47%-53%. However, no sooner than the proverbial ink had dried on those results, the supporters were pregnant with another, virtually identical initiative. Now, just 9 months after the failure of Proposition 73, the supporters have given birth to Proposition 85, a reincarnation of Proposition 73.

The Initiative
Prop 85 would require a pregnant minor to notify her parents before undergoing an abortion. There is a provision for a judicial bylaw (a judge can waive the parental notification requirement). This is a constitutional amendment to the state constitution, which includes a definition of life that could weaken all other reproductive rights in California.

Arguments in Favor:
-Supporters of Prop 85 claim that parental notification laws have been enacted in 30 states, and abortion rates have declined in those states.

-Parents would want to know what is going on in their daughters? lives, and have a right to know. Parents are responsible for their children, are in the best position to decide what is in their best interests, and know their medical histories better than anyone else.

-Minors cannot get other forms of medical treatment without parental consent, including such minor things as flu shots or aspirin, so abortion should be no different.

-It is claimed that most teens who have abortions were impregnated by adult men (with an average age of 22 according to a pro-prop 73 website), making it a case of statutory rape. Crimes such as statutory rape are underreported by medical providers and counselors, and parental involvement would make it more likely that these crimes are brought to the attention of law enforcement.

-One argument that is not actively being made, but is nonetheless a compelling reason for abortion opponents, is that this is a step in chipping away at abortion rights in general. Politically, it probably wouldn?t be wise to make this argument from the proponents? standpoint, as most Californians self-identify as pro-choice. But one would assume that for someone who is pro-life to begin with, this would be the most compelling reason of all.

Arguments Against:
-No law can mandate good family communication, which is essentially what prop 85 attempts to do. Studies show that most teens will tell their parents anyway, and for those who do not feel comfortable telling their parents, it is unlikely that a law will make them more willing to do so. Just as likely would be a scenario where the teen chooses to circumvent the law by going out of state, or obtaining an illegal or self-administered abortion. Clearly some of these options could endanger the health or life of the teen. Opponents of Prop 85 generally acknowledge that a parent would want to be involved in their daughter?s decision, but if she feels uncomfortable talking to her parents, then at least she should have access to competent medical staff and counselors.

-While most families provide caring environments for their daughters, there are some that are abusive, and notifying the parents may actually put the teen at more risk in those situations.

-The provision for judicial review is essentially meaningless in a situation where we?re talking about a scared 15 or 16 year old. To demonstrate the absurdity of the judicial review procedure, one of the No on 73 campaign leaders would ask audiences (of mostly politically aware adults) the question ?How many of you would know how to obtain a judicial bypass order??

-The initiative is unnecessary because teen pregnancy and teen abortion rates have been going down for demographic reasons and are now at historical lows, including in states like California which have no provision for parental notification.

-This is, in fact, part of a broader strategy to chip away at Roe in a piecemeal fashion. If the right can?t get rid of Roe wholesale, they may be able to render it ineffective through initiatives such as this and other laws that make obtaining an abortion more difficult.

Most of the backers of prop 73 were wealthy pro-life individuals, such as Domino?s Pizza co-founder Tom Monaghan, who has contributed heavily to pro-life causes. Other supporters can be expected to include:

-The Republican Party
-various pro-life groups
-Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has not yet taken a position but did back Prop 73

-Planned Parenthood, which led the campaign against prop 73
-The Democratic Party
-Phil Angelides

I recommend endorsing the No on Prop 85 position, and making it a priority for our organization.
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:13 pm

Check out the new No on 85 ad

Postby lapoinma on Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:37 pm

Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:13 pm

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