California Pro-Life Advocates Still Pushing Parental Notification on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 14, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Pro-Life Advocates Still Pushing Parental Notification on Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 14
, 2008

Sacramento, CA ( — California pro-life advocates are continuing to gather signatures to qualify a third attempt to get state voters to approve allowing parents to know when their teenage daughters are considering an abortion. The initiative requires teens to wait 48 hours for an abortion so their parents can be notified about it.

The group Friends of Sarah that is pushing for the law needs 1.1 million signatures to get the measure before voters this November.

Though he rarely gives public interviews, Jim Holman, owner of the San Diego Reader weekly newspaper and a pro-life Catholic who is one of the major financial backers of the initiative, talked about the campaign.

He said fellow pro-life advocate and millionaire winemaker Don Sebastiani wasn’t defeated when the second try at getting the ballot measure approved failed.

“Sebastiani was not deterred. He said, ‘We have to go back again and again,’ ” Holman told the San Diego Union Tribune. “He led with big donations and I sort of followed.”

“I’m a dad with daughters,” he added. “But beyond my personal situation I see it as a great horror that young girls under 18 can be whisked away to hide an abortion.”

Like Proposition 73 and Proposition 85, both of which narrowly lost on the ballot, Sarah’s Law requires parental notification.

However, Sarah’s Law will allow — in the case of abusive parents, another adult relative — a grandmother, aunt, adult sibling to be notified instead.

That has caused some pro-life advocates to oppose the measure because they worry it would open the process to people who shouldn’t be making or assisting in medical decisions for children or who could promote an abortion a teen’s parents oppose.

But Kathy Short, a pro-life attorney with the Life Legal Defense Fund, says the change is necessary to get over objections some voters had.

“We’re modifying the law to respond to Californians who were concerned about abusive parents,” Short told the Union Tribune. “It’s a progressive law for a progressive state.”

“Do we think abortions are bad? Yes,” she said. “That’s why we support this law. It reduces teen pregnancies and abortions.”

Should the measure qualify again, it would be the first time since 1914 that state voters would consider a measure on the same topic three times in the span of four years.

That leads abortion advocates to complain pro-life advocates are abusing the ballot process.

“Never in the history of California has one person manipulated 36 million people through his electoral hoops based solely on the extremism of his ideology and the balance of his checkbook,” said Vince Hall, of Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside counties.

Abortion practitioners who violate the notification law would be subject to fines and teenagers could sue if coerced into having an abortion.

The backers of Sarah’s Law have until April 18 to qualify the ballot proposal.

After a parental notification ballot measure failed in 2005, pro-life advocates thought it would fare better during a general election. Instead, Proposition 85 did worse in 2006 than its Proposition 73 companion in the previous election.

Opponents, led by Planned Parenthood abortion centers, raised more than $5.4 million to defeat the measure while pro-life advocates had about $3 million to promote it.

Exit polling shows proponents didn’t connect with minority voters as well as pre-polling data showed they were doing.

White voters opposed the parental notification measure by a 56-44 clip and Hispanic voters were expected to make up the difference with their strong support. Though pre-election polling showed they backed the initiative by a large margin, they split just 50-50 on election day.

Black California residents opposed Prop 85 on a 56-44 percent margin while Asians backed it 53-47.

Related web sites:
Friends of Sarah –