Schwarzenegger Endorses Parental Notification, Industry-Sponsored Drug Discount Measures
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Friday endorsed Propositions 73 and 78 on the Nov. 8 special election ballot, and his office said that he has decided to oppose Proposition 79, the Sacramento Bee reports (Delsohn, Sacramento Bee, 9/24).
Proposition 73 would amend the state constitution to require health care providers to notify a parent or guardian 48 hours before performing an abortion on an unmarried minor (California Healthline, 9/21).
Proposition 78 would establish a voluntary prescription drug discount plan for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. The measure is supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (California Healthline, 9/19).
Proposition 78 is based on legislation Schwarzenegger supported that was defeated in the Legislature (Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24).
Proposition 79 would require drug makers to participate in a prescription drug discount program for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level or face exclusion from the Medi-Cal formulary in some cases. Under Proposition 79, people could sue a pharmaceutical company if they believe it is participating in illegal pricing practices. Health Access California and a coalition of labor groups support the measure (California Healthline, 9/19).
Schwarzenegger campaign spokesperson Rob Stutzman said the governor supports Proposition 73 because "[j]ust as the law involves parents in all other medical decisions with a child, he doesn't believe abortion should be any different" (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24).
Regarding the prescription drug measures, Stutzman said, "If [pharmaceutical companies] are going to participate in a voluntary program that simply makes prescription drugs available to the working poor without a government mandate, that is a better way to go."
Stutzman said that although he expects Schwarzenegger to campaign heavily for Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77, he does not "anticipate he'll campaign at all" for the others, including Proposition 73 and Proposition 78 (Salladay/Morain, Los Angeles Times, 9/24).
Treasurer Phil Angelides (D), who plans to run for governor next year, said, "Proposition 73 was placed on the ballot by anti-choice extremists who have made no secret that their ultimate goal is taking away a woman's right to choose. As a husband and the father of three daughters, I oppose Proposition 73 and the Bush-Schwarzenegger effort to make it harder for young women to have access to safe, professional medical attention" (Sacramento Bee, 9/24).
Kathy Kneer, president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said, "We believe that if the governor thinks about it, he will understand that not all teenagers live in homes like his and that, in fact, many teenage girls who, for whatever reason, cannot go to their parents, will be put at risk by Prop. 73" (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/24).
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, said in a statement he was not surprised that the governor endorsed Proposition 78, which he called a "sham measure backed by his campaign contributors, the drug companies" (Sacramento Bee, 9/24).
The San Jose Mercury News on Saturday examined advertising campaigns for and against Propositions 78 and 79.
According to the Mercury News, a frequently screened television ad for Proposition 78 shows a white-haired man, called "Marcus Welby," who "with a kindly smile" hands out pieces of paper that are apparently prescriptions approved for a discount under Proposition 78. The commercial then cuts to a "[s]narling bureaucrat stamping REJECT on prescription-size pieces of paper," the Mercury News reports. According to the ad, this is how Proposition 79 would work.
Meanwhile, supporters of Proposition 79 started their campaign last week "with speeches and accusations," the Mercury News reports (Beck, San Jose Mercury News, 9/24).
KPCC's "AirTalk" on Friday reported on a debate about Proposition 73 held on Thursday in Los Angeles. Panelists at the debate included Martha Swiller, executive vice president for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, and Mike Spence, spokesperson for the California Parent's Right Committee (Mantle, "AirTalk," KPCC, 9/23). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Additional information on Proposition 73, 78 and 79 is available online.