California Voters Will Likely Decide Abortion Notification Ballot Issue

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Voters Will Likely Decide Abortion Notification Ballot Issue Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 28
, 2005

Sacramento, CA ( — Voters in California will likely be considering a ballot proposal this fall to determine whether or not parents should be told when their teenager daughters are considering an abortion.

Backers of the notification requirement, which allows parents to know their minor daughter is considering an abortion 48 hours before it’s performed, say they have enough signatures to get it on the ballot.

Albin Rhomberg, a representative of the group working on the signatures, told the Marin Independent Journal, "We are pretty confident we will qualify, and most people seem to think this is a pretty good idea."

"Even Hillary Clinton, on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, said she supported the idea of parental notification," Rhomberg added.

However, organizations like Planned Parenthood of California and the national Feminist Majority Foundation and making plans to oppose the initiative.

"It endangers young women’s lives period," Katherine Spiller, executive director of the Feminist Foundation, told the Marin newspaper.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is busy taking on organized labor and probably won’t weigh in heavily on the abortion debate. Though he supports abortion, he has indicated his support for parental notification.

The fate of the proposal may hinge on whether a special election is conducted at all, as Schwarzenegger hopes.

The "Tell a Parent" initiative has received support from Monty Patterson, the father of California teenager Holly Patterson. She died in September 2003 after using an RU 486 abortion drug she obtained from a San Francisco-area Planned Parenthood.

The abortion business did not tell Monty Patterson about his daughter’s abortion. He only found out when he was summoned to the hospital after Holly began having serious complications.

The California state legislature passed a parental notification law in the mid 1980s.

The state Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional in 1996 but, with a change in personnel, the court reversed itself in 1998.

The ballot proposal is significant in that it is a constitutional amendment which would not be subject to the state Supreme Court. While federal courts would have jurisdiction over the amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that parental notification is constitutional as long as teens can don’t have to tell their parents in abuse situations.

Supporters of the California initiative believe that such an amendment could mean 20,000 fewer abortions in the state each year.

The majority of U.S. states now have parental notification or parental consent laws on the books and such laws have reduced teen abortions by as much as 30 percent.

A Zogby poll published in June of 2002 indicated 71 percent of those Californians surveyed support parental notification.

Related web sites:
Tell a Parent –