California Catholic Conference Will Back Parental Notification on Abortion Bid

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 17, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Catholic Conference Will Back Parental Notification on Abortion Bid

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 17
, 2008

Sacramento, CA ( — A representative of the California Catholic Conference says the state’s bishops will endorse a ballot proposal for parental notification on abortion should it qualify for the November ballot. This is the third try to get state voters to approve allowing parents to know when their daughter is 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. It faces an August 25 deadline.

Carol Hogan, communications director for the Catholic group, made the pledge in comments to The Tidings newspaper.

"We anticipate ‘Sarah’s Law’ [requiring doctors to notify adult family members 48 hours before an unemancipated minor’s pending abortion] will qualify," she said.

Hogan said the bishops would issue a statement supporting the measure and would also deliver educational materials to churches across the state and affiliated Catholic groups.

The bishops have a long-standing policy of not endorsing a measure until it qualifies for the ballot and parishioners are asked to refrain from gathering signatures for ballot proposals unless the bishops authorize it.

Like Proposition 73 in 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 such as a grandmother, aunt, or 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 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.”

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

Exit polling after the last vote showed 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 –