Wednesday, October 22, 2008

TBG's Election Guide: Proposition 4

Proposition 4, or the Abortion Waiting Period and Parental Notification Initiative, also known to its supporters as Sarah's Law proposes a new amendment to the California Constitution. The initiative would prohibit abortion for unemancipated minors until 48 hours after physician notifies minor's parent, legal guardian or, if parental abuse has been reported, an alternative adult family member.

Here's one more reason to hate the Proposition process. Slight variations of Prop. 4 were rejected by Californian voters in 2005 and 2006. Undeterred, though, it keeps coming back to the ballot with a slight tweak here and there.

The most notable edit is in the inclusion of the "…if parental abuse has been reported…" language. Previously, detractors argued that young women living within an abusive home would be too scared to let their parents know. Now, provided that the alleged victim puts her accusation in writing, someone other than her parents will be notified.

Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood is leading the "no" support, while an outfit called "The Friends of Sarah" is the organization that got this back on the ballot. "Sarah" was a 15-year-old Texan who may or may not have been part of a common-law marriage with an older man. She died during an abortion in 1994 and had already given birth to one child during this union.

No matter which side of the pro-choice/pro-life argument you fall on, Prop. 4 (and its rejected cousins) remains a poorly-written and agenda-driven measure. As far as I know, underage girls seeking an abortion in this state can already turn to aunts, uncles, older sisters, etc. in lieu of potentially abusive parents. Furthermore, these kids aren't subject to the two-day delay which is only in there in the hope that mom and dad can talk their teen out of terminating their pregnancies.

TBG Votes: No. If those whom this initiative would protect are ostensibly too scared and irrational to make this decision without parental supervision, who can be certain that they'll even come forward in the first place? And, the thought of setting a place at the dinner table for communication mandated by the state's government is… Well, let's just say there ain't enough meatloaf to go around.

No comments: