California Parental Notification on Abortion Initiative Subject of Lawsuits

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 8, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Parental Notification on Abortion Initiative Subject of Lawsuits Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 8, 2005

Sacramento, CA ( — Both pro-life and pro-abortion groups have filed lawsuits against a November initiative in California allowing parents to know when their minor daughters are considering an abortion. Groups on both sides claim the language state officials put on the ballot are misleading.

Under Proposition 73, abortion practitioners must tell parents about a possible abortion on their daughter 48 hours in advance of the procedure. Similar requirements in other states have proven effective in reducing the number of teen abortions and in helping parents help their children.

However, both sides in the abortion debate don’t like the language used in the ballot question.

Pro-life groups say mention of millions of people opposing such a requirement is "political rhetoric passing itself off as an objective statement of fact" while abortion advocates claim assertions that parental involvement laws have cut the number of abortions is not accurate.

Parents’ Right to Know, the group promoting the initiative, filed suit in Sacramento County Superior Court saying that the rebuttal argument presented in the ballot vote information makes is falsely appear the initiative applies to all teenagers, not just minors.

Courts are expected to hold hearings on the lawsuits starting next week as the Secretary of State is required to print the voting guides for the November 8 election by August 15.

A June Field Poll found some 48 percent of California voters back the proposal while 42 percent oppose it.

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.

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.

The proposal includes a Supreme Court-required judicial bypass provision for emergency medical or abuse situations.

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