Measure Requiring Parental Notification Before Abortions for Minors Qualifies for Ballot
A measure that would require health care providers to notify the parents of a minor before performing an abortion has qualified for the next state election ballot, the secretary of state's office announced Monday, the Sacramento Bee reports (Delsohn, Sacramento Bee, 5/17).
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, 5/9).
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 can prove an abortion is in her best interest.
The measure is the first of eight potential ballot measures to qualify for a possible November special election (Sacramento Bee, 5/17). Aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) have said it is likely that he will call a special election by the June 13 deadline (California Healthline, 5/9).
Supporters of the proposal say the measure is needed to ensure that minors are equipped to deal with the emotional effects of having an abortion. Opponents say the measure would lead to unsafe abortions and give the government inappropriate authority over people's private lives.
Schwarzenegger has said that he supports parental notification prior to abortions for minors, but he has not stated a position on the ballot measure.
A release by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson (R) stated that Paul and Barbara Laubacher -- registered nurses from Sacramento -- sponsored the measure. James Holman, publisher of the weekly newspaper San Diego Reader and an abortion-rights opponent, largely funded the signature-gathering campaign, the Bee reports (Sacramento Bee, 5/17).