Abortion Ballot Measure, Other ‘Wild Card’ Initiatives Could Effect Possible Special Election
Several "wild card" initiatives, including a proposed measure that would require health care providers to notify the parents of a minor before performing an abortion, could appear on the next statewide ballot, the Sacramento Bee reports. Aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) have said it's "almost a certainty" that he will call a special election by the June 13 deadline, according to the Bee.
The next statewide ballot also could include a measure addressing union contributions to political campaigns (Delsohn, Sacramento Bee, 5/9).
Under the abortion measure, physicians would be required to notify a parent or guardian 48 hours before they perform an abortion on an unmarried minor. In addition, the Department of Health Services would be required to maintain detailed records of abortions performed on minors, although the records would exclude names. The measure also would impose civil penalties on individuals who coerce a minor to have an abortion (California Healthline, 5/4).
Some political strategists, including Republican consultant Dan Schnur, said debate over the abortion-related measure could change the focus of the special election, the Bee reports.
Barbara O'Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University-Sacramento, said, "The more you get on the ballot that deals with specialty groups and the needs of discrete constituencies, the less opportunity [Schwarzenegger] has to control who turns out in a low-turnout election."
However, some Schwarzenegger advisers disagree, saying that the campaign related to the abortion initiative is not expected to be as heavily debated in paid advertising as some of other initiatives, the Bee reports.
Rob Stutzman, Schwarzenegger's communications director, said, "Nothing overwhelms the debate in California except campaigns that can afford to be on television" (Sacramento Bee, 5/9).
NPR's "Day to Day" on Friday examined the abortion measure. The segment includes comments from Kathy Kneer, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California; Albin Rhomberg, spokesperson for the Parents' Right to Know Initiative; Schnur; and Schwarzenegger (Keith, "Day to Day," NPR, 5/6). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.