California Abortion Advocates Go After Details of Parental Notification Proposal

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 1, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Abortion Advocates Go After Details of Parental Notification Proposal

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 1
, 2008

Sacramento, CA ( — Abortion advocates in California are going after a state ballot proposition that would allow parental notification on abortions. They are saying the measure’s ballot summary should be changed because the teen the law is named after was married at the time of the abortion that killed her.

Named for a 15-year-old girl who died just four days after a legal abortion left her with a torn cervix and fatal infection, Sarah’s Law, if approved, will protect the health and safety of young girls.

The California Secretary of State qualified Sarah’s Law for the November ballot after backers submitted enough signatures for it and named it Proposition 4.

But California Planned Parenthood advocates have sued state officials saying Sarah was in a common-law marriage with a man from Texas at the time of her death.

The abortion business filed the lawsuit Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court asking that Sarah’s story be removed from the ballot materials voters will receive saying it is misleading.

"If you can’t believe the ‘Sarah’ story, there’s a lot in the ballot argument you can’t believe," Ana Sandoval, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, told the Los Angeles Times.

Yet Erica Little, a representative of the group backing the parental notification measure, told the Times that it doesn’t matter if Sarah was married or not at the time of her death.

Little maintains that teenage girls lack the capacity to make major health decisions on their own and should have parental involvement to learn about the risks and alternatives.

"However, she was still 15 and was not equipped to make medical decisions on her own, whether she was living with the father of her child or not," Little said.

"We will modify the way we present ‘Sarah’ to be accurate with the information," Little said. "But we don’t think the use of her story is marred."

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.

A poll last week found California voters are not familiar with the statewide initiatives that will appear on the ballot when voters go to the polls in November.

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

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.

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.

Related web sites:
Friends of Sarah –


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