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Proposition 73: Both Sides Want to Protect Minor Seeking an Abortion

This Tuesday the special statewide election, which usually doesn't have much of a turnout compared to regular elections, has on its ballots a controversial bill that deals with the protection of a mi
( [email protected] ) Nov 05, 2005 12:02 AM EST

This Tuesday the special statewide election, which usually doesn't have much of a turnout compared to regular elections, has on its ballots a controversial bill that deals with the protection of a minor seeking an abortion.

Proposition 73, the Parental Notification Act, will amend the current California constitution by requiring doctors to notify the parents of a minor seeking an abortion within 48 hours of the procedure, unless the minor has a medical emergency or a parental waiver.

Although it gathered one million signatures in order for it to be placed on the election, the San Francisco Chronicle reported it trailing 49 to 41 percent, according to a Field Poll released on Nov. 2.

The poll was conducted for the two weeks between Oct. 18-30 among two groups of Californians. The findings that related to Prop. 73 have a sampling error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.


Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, told SF Gate, "Proposition 73 is just a tug-of-war between two very different constituencies."

The argument in favor of Prop. 73, backed by pro-life groups, such as the California Pro Life Council, and having the support of Christians from the Great Commission Center International (GCCI) and Chinese Family Alliance, as well as pastors from churches in the Bay Area, says that the proposition is necessary to protect the minor.

Their argument stems from the fact that in California a minor cannot get an aspirin, flu shot, or a tooth pulled without parental consent, but they can make the decision to go through with a surgical or chemical abortion without the parents knowing.

The parents role is to "love and build up the family," Rev. Thomas Wang, founder of GCCI said. "The society is trying to take away the privilege and the authority of the parents and Prop. 73 is trying to restore this."

Meanwhile, pro-choice groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood, with help from Campaign for Teen Safety, say they also want to protect the minor, but feel that if they are confronted with this proposition, teens who are unable to speak to their parents may find other means to end their pregnancy.

They further feel that the government has no right to impose on "family communication" and that the best way to protect teens is for parents to educate them early on about "responsible sexual behavior."

Abortion groups are also unsupportive of the language that was added in to the initiative that says, "unborn child, a child conceived but not born," which could potentially effect abortion cases in the future.

The proposition is a notification and does not require approval from the parents for the minor to go through with the abortion, but it offers a time for parents to counsel their daughters.

The California Pro Life Council said that parents know their child's medical history and would be able to "avert medical risks and complications," while providing "parental support" for minors before and after the procedure.

In 1953, a state law was implemented to allow minors to receive prenatal care without parental consent. Later, through legal action and developments, obtaining an abortion was also included.

The Legislature wanted to amend the law in 1987, requiring minors to obtain the consent of their parents or a court order before an abortion. However, it was legally challenged and eventually struck down in 1997 by the Supreme Court.

Therefore, minors as young as 13 years old are, right now, receiving abortion services that are provided to adults.

On Nov. 8, voters are urged to vote by both sides to represent California.