Supporters, Opponents of Parental Notification Ballot Measure File Competing Lawsuits
Supporters and opponents of Proposition 73 last week filed separate lawsuits in Sacramento County Superior Court to challenge each other's suggestions for the wording of the voter pamphlet that will be used in the November special election, the Los Angeles Times reports (Warren, Los Angeles Times, 8/6).
Proposition 73 would amend the state constitution to require health care providers to notify parents or guardians 48 hours before they perform an abortion on an unmarried minor (California Healthline, 7/26).
Sponsors and opponents of ballot measures are permitted to submit written arguments that will appear on the voter pamphlet. The groups also can challenge the other side's submission in court.
Proponents of Proposition 73 on Thursday filed a lawsuit challenging three statements in the voter pamphlet arguments of Proposition 73 opponents. The supporters took issue with the opponents' claim that "millions of parents" oppose Proposition 73, a phrase that measure supporters said was "political rhetoric passing itself off as an objective statement of fact."
Secondly, Proposition 73 supporters objected to the use of the word "teenager," which they said was inaccurate because the notification requirement would apply to women ages 17 and younger, but not 18- and 19-year-olds. Teenagers who are above the age of consent account for "the majority of abortions among teenagers in California," according to the Times.
Proposition 73 supporters also challenged the statement that young women who requested exemption from the notification requirement would be "put on trial" before a "crowded courtroom." The exemption process would involve a confidential hearing in juvenile court, supporters said.
Opponents of Proposition 73 on Friday filed a lawsuit challenging Proposition 73 supporters' statements that notification laws in other states have reduced teenage pregnancy and abortion rates without causing "danger and harm." Those statements "quite simply, are false," the lawsuit states, alleging that any decrease in abortion rates in other states was offset by the number of minors who traveled out of state to have abortions.
The lawsuit also alleges that notification laws compel minors to seek illegal abortions or delay the procedure. Notification can force girls to disclose their pregnancies or abortion to abusive parents or guardians, the lawsuit states (Los Angeles Times, 8/6).