ABORTION: Parental Consent Measure Fails, Lungren Calls For Ballot Measure
The state Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday rejected a measure that would have required teens to get parental permission for an abortion. "Backers of the defeated proposal ... told the committee that parents should have a right to know if their teenage daughter is considering having an abortion," the Sacramento Bee reports. However, "opponents of the measure said it would harm - - not help -- thousands of pregnant teenagers in California each year, particularly those from unhappy or violent homes." The proposed measure would have amended the state Constitution "to require written consent from a parent or legal guardian before a minor could have an abortion" (Matthews, 4/15).
Let The People Decide
California Attorney General Dan Lungren, the only major GOP candidate in the state's race for governor, "urged the Legislature on Tuesday to let voters decide ... whether abortions for women under the age of 18 should require parental consent." The proposition would allow the consent requirement to "be waived by a judge" in some circumstances. The Los Angeles Times reports that "the idea faces an uphill battle because it is opposed by Democrats who control both houses of the state Legislature." A similar bill mandating parental consent was "rejected" by the state Supreme Court in August on grounds it was "an unconstitutional violation of the right to privacy" for women under age 18. A recent attempt to place a parental consent measure on the ballot also failed. However, "Lungren said the failure was due to technical difficulties, not a lack of support for the idea."
Lungren said, "When we see people questioning how children can kill children, how can we think that sending a message to children that they can do as they please -- even to the extent of not notifying their parent of such a serious act -- will do anything but break down those basic values that are the underpinnings of our heritage and our civilization?" Republicans "acknowledged that Lungren's pitch reflects a GOP strategy to split the abortion debate into mini-battles -- like parental consent -- where the GOP position is popular in polls." A Times poll last fall "found that 67% of California voters agree that women under 18 should obtain their parents' consent before receiving an abortion." The Times reports that because the parental consent legislation "would amend the Constitution, it would not become law without a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature and a successful ballot measure" (Lesher, 4/15).