California Voters Leaning Towards Supporting Parental Notification on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 22, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Voters Leaning Towards Supporting Parental Notification on Abortion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 22
, 2008

Sacramento, CA ( — California voters are not familiar with the statewide initiatives that will appear on the ballot when voters go to the polls in November. One of those is of interest to pro-life advocates because it would require that parents are notified when a teenager girl is considering an abortion.

Of those voters who know about the notification proposal, the poll shows a plurality say they would support it.

The California Secretary of State qualified Sarah’s Law, the latest version of the initiative that is similar but not identical to past attempts, for the November 4 ballot.

Despite the fact that pro-life advocates are now trying for the third time to get the measure approved, a new Field Poll shows just 45 percent of California voters are familiar with Proposition 4 with 55 percent not knowing about it.

However, that’s a significantly higher percentage of people who are aware of the parental notification measure compared to the other four initiatives. No other initiative has more than 23 percent of voters aware of its contents.

Poll director Mark DiCamillo said he’s not surprised by the lack of awareness about the initiatives at this point in the election process. He predicted the numbers will go up as November gets closer and summer concludes.

The Field Poll found 48 percent of the registered voters polled in the survey would support the parental notification measure while 39 percent would oppose it. Another 13 percent are undecided.

Proponents submitted more than 1.2 million signatures on petitions seeking a third vote on adult involvement in minors’ abortions, after Propositions 73 and 85 were narrowly defeated in 2005 and 2006.

Named for a 15-year-old girl who died just four days after an abortion left her with a torn cervix and fatal infection, Sarah’s Law will protect the health and safety of young girls and prevent sexual predators from hiding behind secret abortions performed on their minor victims, Grace Dulaney, Sarah’s Law spokeswoman, told

Physicians in Sarah’s case said that, had an adult family member been aware that she had undergone an abortion, her life likely could have been spared by prompt medical attention.

If approved, the measure would require an abortion practitioner to notify a parent or other adult family member before performing an abortion on a minor girl under the age of 18.

That’s a change from the previous proposals, which required only that parents be notified about the potential law.

Supporters hope it will help the measure get more votes, but some pro-life advocates are not supporting the revised initiative because they don’t think anyone other than a girl’s parents should be told about her abortion. They say the revised measure would keep parents in the dark while a family member who may not know the girl or her parents well would be notified instead.

Dulaney says the law is also needed to help stop the practice of sexual abusers using abortion to cover up their crimes and further victimize young girls.

"Additionally, many of these minor girls are impregnated by adult male sexual predators who, under California law, are hiding their crimes of statutory rape by coercing their victims to have secret abortions," she said.

"Sarah’s Law shows that we don’t have to choose between protecting young girls from the dangers of secret abortions and ensuring their safety at home," Dulaney concluded. "This is a win-win solution. It’s a progressive law for a progressive state."

Related web sites:
Friends of Sarah –



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