A proposed ballot initiative seeking a California constitutional amendment requiring parental notification and a 48-hour waiting period before a minor can obtain an abortion was filed yesterday at the California Attorney General’s Office. The initiative (see PDF), called the “Parental Notification, Child and Teen Safety, and Stop Predators Act,” proposes that the state has “a compelling interest in protecting minors from the known risks of secret abortions.”
Similar ballot initiatives were defeated by California voters in 2005, 2006 and 2008. In last year’s election, a parental notification initiative (Proposition 4) was rejected by a vote of 52.4 percent to 47.6 percent.
Opponents of parental notification or consent laws restricting abortion access argue that these laws endanger young women who may resort to unsafe abortion methods in order to bypass parental involvement. A January report (see PDF) from NARAL Pro-Choice America states, “Mandatory parental-involvement (consent and notice) laws do not solve the problem of inadequate family communication; they only exacerbate a potentially dangerous situation. In some circumstances, teens facing a crisis pregnancy feel compelled to travel to another state where there is a less stringent parental-involvement law or no such law at all, to avoid involving their parents and maintain their privacy. In the most dire of circumstances, some pregnant young women who fear telling their parents may resort to illegal or self-induced abortions that may result in death.”
If the proposed measure successfully undergoes review by the Attorney General’s office and more than 700,000 signatures are gathered in support, it will be included on the 2010 ballot.