ABORTION: Proposed Parental Notification Ballot Initiative Submitted
In a move that opens the possibility of an unprecedented vote on abortion, pro-lifers in June submitted to Attorney General Bill Lockyer's (D) office a November 2000 ballot proposal to create a state constitutional amendment on parental notification, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports. The proposal would require a minor to notify one parent before obtaining an abortion. The measure "can become law only by a constitutional amendment," since the California Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the state's parental consent law violated a minor's right to privacy, and that "there was no evidence the law would serve its stated goals -- promoting family harmony and minors' welfare." Charles Cavalier, a campaign consultant for the initiative's supporters, said "[T]hey decided to propose parental notification rather than consent because other states have found that mandatory notification encourages communication." He added, "Who could possibly oppose increased communication between a 13-year-old girl and her parents?" Efforts to oppose the initiative are already being planned by abortion-rights advocates. Margaret Crosby, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued against the parental consent law, said, "Fifteen years of experience in other states have demonstrated that parental involvement laws inflict physical and emotional harm on young women, especially the vulnerable teenagers from unhappy homes who most need our protection." After the initiative is given an official title by the attorney general's office, supporters have 150 days to obtain signatures from 670,816 registered voters to be included on the ballot. A petition should be ready for circulation by mid-August (AP/Sacramento Bee, 7/20).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.