Los Angeles Times Looks at Ballot Measure Requiring Parental Notification Before Abortions for Minors
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday examined the Parents' Right to Know and Child Protection Initiative, which would require health care providers to notify the parents of an unmarried minor before performing an abortion. Secretary of State Bruce McPherson (R) on Monday certified the measure for the next statewide ballot (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 5/18).
Under the 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.
Exceptions could be made in medical emergencies or if a minor obtains a parental waiver. A minor also would be able to obtain a judicial waiver if she could prove an abortion is in her best interest (California Healthline, 5/17). Upon notification, a parent of a minor seeking an abortion would be permitted to waive the 48-hour wait period before the procedure could be performed.
The campaign committee for the measure, Life on Ballot, spent $1.3 million to collect more than one million signatures to qualify the measure. More than half of the signatures submitted were certified as valid.
Republican and Democrat strategists say the measure is an "odds-on favorite to pass," the Times reports.
According to Mike Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly, the measure will have broad support. "When you look at the polling data, it's working-class and middle-class parents who are the strongest supporters for parental involvement. I think its one of those issues that people want to vote on. I think it will help turnout, although I suspect there will be plenty of high turnout anyway," he said.
Mary-Jane Wagle, CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, said, "The dangerous, misleading thing about this ballot initiative is that it looks like it helps parents know what's happening with their kids. It puts a barrier between teens and their access to safe, good medical care" (Los Angeles Times, 5/18).