Judge Rules on Voter Guide Language for Parental Notification Ballot Measure
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raymond Cadei ruled on Thursday to allow some statements from supporters and opponents of Proposition 73 to appear on the voter pamphlet that will be used in the November special election, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Lawrence, AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/12).
Proposition 73 would amend the state constitution to require health care providers to notify parents or guardians 48 hours before they perform an abortion on an unmarried minor.
Last week, supporters and opponents of the measure filed separate lawsuits to challenge each other's suggestions for the wording of the voter pamphlet. Each side sought to amend several phrases in the other's suggestions (California Healthline, 8/8).
Cadei ruled that Proposition 73 supporters' statement that notification laws in other states had helped to reduce pregnancy and abortion rates "without danger and harm to minors" will be allowed in the voter pamphlet.
Opponents had argued that studies of other states' notification laws showed the laws did not reduce abortion rates and could put minors in danger of abuse by parents or guardians. Cadei said the studies were not consistently conclusive.
Cadei also allowed a statement by Proposition 73 opponents saying "millions of concerned parents" opposed the measure. In addition, he permitted the use of the word "teenager" by opponents to describe the age of the young women who would be affected under the law (AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/12).
Proposition 73 supporters had argued opponents' use of the word "teenagers" was inaccurate because the notification requirement would apply to women ages 17 and younger, but not to 18- and 19-year-olds (California Healthline, 8/8).
Cadei also ruled that opponents could not say in the pamphlet that minors who sought a judicial waiver to the requirement would be put "on trial" (AP/Contra Costa Times, 8/12). In their lawsuit, Proposition 73 supporters had argued that the opponents' statement that the minors would be put on trial in a "crowded courtroom" was inaccurate because the exemption process would involve a confidential hearing in juvenile court (California Healthline, 8/8).