Los Angeles, CA–I haven’t followed the battle between conservatives/Christian and liberals/feminists over California’s Proposition 4 (the Parental Notification Ballot Initiative sponsored by anti-abortion groups). In general I have mixed emotions both about abortion and Parental Notification laws However, last night I heard something about it on the Leo Terrell Show on KABC in Los Angeles which made me sit up and take notice. On the show, a feminist opponent of the legislation said that if a teenage girl did not want to ask her parents’ permission to have an abortion, her doctor would instead need to report the parents to authorities for abuse. I checked it out a bit and it appears the feminist’s claim is correct. According to the League of Women Voters:
Proposition 4 would amend the state Constitution to require a physician to notify the parent or legal guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor in writing at least 48 hours before performing an abortion. An unemancipated minor is not married, not on active military duty, or not legally free from parental custody and control. The notice must be delivered in person or by certified mail. Parental notification is not required if:
- the physician certifies that the abortion is necessary to prevent the mother”s death or that a delay would create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function;
- the parent waives the notification and waiting period in writing;
- the minor states in writing that she fears parental abuse based on a pattern of such abuse, in which case the physician may notify an adult family member instead of the parent and must report the suspected abuse to authorities; or
- the minor gets a court order waiving notification, based upon a finding either that she is sufficiently mature and well-informed to decide whether to have an abortion or that parental notification would not be in her best interest. A physician who fails to comply with the measure would be liable for civil damages.
It sounds to me like if a girl doesn’t want to try to notify her parents, the parents will usually end up getting reported to authorities. Exceptions 1, 2 and 4 don’t seem like they’ll be very common–it’ll probably be #3–“must report the suspected abuse to authorities.” As if we don’t already have enough false allegations of domestic violence and sexual abuse against fathers in divorce, as if we don’t have enough of a problem with innocent mothers and fathers getting being ensnared in Child Protective Services proceedings, now we’ll have more. I think I’ll be voting no–am I wrong?