Next Statewide Ballot Likely Will Include Measure To Amend State Constitution To Require Parental Notification of Abortion
A proposed ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to require minors to notify their parents at least 48 hours before having an abortion likely will be one of the first initiatives to qualify for the next statewide election, the Contra Costa Times reports.
However, the initiative "adds to a growing list of side measures that could appear on the ballot and distract voters" from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) agenda and his efforts to bring a number of issues to the ballot, according to the Times.
Supporters of the amendment say they have collected nearly 900,000 signatures. They must provide 598,105 valid signatures by April 14 in order for the measure to be included on the ballot if a special election is called for November.
Albin Rhomberg, a spokesperson for the group trying to pass the initiative, said, "It's basically a parent, pro-family thing. Young people are immature and need some ongoing help. The main issue of protecting minors and aiding minors is pretty hard to evade and switch to the abortion issue."
Justine Sarver, vice president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said, "Government can't force parents and teens to talk to each other. Good parents are already doing what they should be, and they are going to see this issue as something that isn't offering them any solutions in terms of talking to their teens and getting them help."
Dan Schnur, a Republican strategist, said, "Californians tend to favor abortion rights by a larger majority than American voters, but the question of parental consent cuts the divide right down the middle of the pro-choice movement."
Democratic strategist Garry South said, "If it seems reasonable, it has a chance. If it gets wrapped into the whole antiabortion movement and opponents say, 'Here they go again, trying to whittle away women's rights,' it would have a tough road." He added, "This could be a mess. This could be a mess for [Schwarzenegger], and it could be a mess for voters."
Schwarzenegger is not choosing a position on ballot measures he has not proposed and intends to "stay focused on what he's trying to qualify for the ballot," according to adviser Marty Wilson. Wilson said that the Schwarzenegger administration will "worry about the other stuff later" (LaMar, Contra Costa Times, 3/25).