Proposition 73 Advocates, Opponents Take Campaign Battle to Churches
DVDs produced by the Right to Life of Central California on behalf of the campaign in favor of Proposition 73 have been sent to 2,000 of California's largest Protestant churches and 1,000 Catholic parishes to garner support for the measure, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/3).
Proposition 73 would amend the state constitution to require health care providers to inform a parent or guardian 48 hours before performing an abortion on an unmarried minor. Under the measure, a girl could seek a judicial bypass and would receive no-cost legal counsel, a confidential hearing and a ruling within three days on whether she could receive an abortion without notifying her parents (California Healthline, 11/2).
According to the Chronicle, the videos are "an extra effort" by conservatives "to tap into" faith-based communities, "hoping that their passionate support" of Proposition 73 "will draw more voters out to support the rest of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) agenda."
In addition, the California Catholic Conference has distributed suggested homilies to churches that state "Prop. 73 is the right thing to do" and "for the Catholic an abortion is never, ever a viable 'choice.'"
CCC spokesperson Carol Hogan said the homilies do not jeopardize a church's not-for-profit status -- which prohibits religious leaders from endorsing political candidates or campaigns while inside sacred buildings -- because they are "a restatement of church teaching."
No on 73 campaign manager Steve Smith said church leaders who oppose the measure also are speaking to their congregations. Smith said churches were not "the first place we started to organize, ... [b]ut after we heard what the other side was doing, we increased our outreach to churches as a sort of a counterbalance."
Forums opposing Proposition 73 have been held at 150 congregations in California for the past six Sundays, according to the Rev. Rick Scholsser, a United Methodist minister and executive director of California Church IMPACT (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/3).
Summaries of recent opinion pieces addressing Proposition 73 appear below.
- Catherine Short, Ventura County Star: The "reality for minors seeking secret abortions" is "not 'caring doctors' providing 'quality counseling' and 'professional medical attention,'" but "a pregnancy test, 15 minutes of filling out forms and then an abortion performed by a doctor the girl has never seen before and will never see again," Catherine Short, an Ojai attorney and co-author of Proposition 73, writes in a Star opinion piece. According to Short, a "young girl who is pregnant needs the advice and support of a parent, not a stranger in an abortion clinic." Short recommends that state residents vote "yes" on Proposition 73 (Short, Ventura County Star, 11/2).
- Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle: The "logic" of Proposition 73 "doesn't work" because "[b]y definition, minors who get pregnant are less mature than those who do not," Chronicle columnist Saunders writes. According to Saunders, Proposition 73 "is not about abortion, but parental rights." She writes that allowing minors to have abortions "without their parents' knowledge should be the exception, not the rule," adding that she is "all ears" for a law that "separates the kids who just don't want to tell their parents from those who dare not" (Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/3).