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Parental Notification Ballot Initiative Gains Support in California

Recent polling indicates that California’s Proposition 4 is gaining support among likely voters. If passed, the constitutional amendment would require parental notification and a 48-hour waiting period before allowing a minor to obtain an abortion. According to the Contra Costa Times, 48 percent of likely voters support the measure and 39 percent oppose it. The poll surveyed more than 650 voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.

Although voters rejected similar initiatives in 2005 and 2006, opponents of the measure attribute the increased support to language that differs slightly from previous versions. The current version requires physicians to inform a family member 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor and also includes provisions that give alternative family contacts for minors living in abusive families.

Opponents maintain that the real-world implications of the proposition will ultimately defeat the measure. Kathy Kneer, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, claims that young women are unlikely to seek an abortion under Proposition 4 because it would require physicians to file a police report documenting suspected abuse. Kneer described the proposition as one that presents “a huge barrier for doctors” as physicians could be sued for up to four years after the abortion by the minor’s parents if the minor received the service without parental consent, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Currently, the anti-initiative group, The Campaign for Teen Safety, currently has over $3 million on hand for their campaign while the pro-initiative group Friends of Sarah: The Parental or Alternative Family Member Notification Law, has $276,000 on hand, the Contra Costa Times reports.

Sources:

National Partnership for Women and Families, 7/25/08; Contra Costa Times, 7/22/08; Feminist Daily Newswire; CA Secretary of State

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