Sarah's Law- Yes on Prop 4

Why California Needs Sarah's Law-Talking Points and Real-life Stories

Measure to Protect Teenage Girls in California Fails

SACRAMENTO, November 5, 2008-- California voters rejected Prop 4, a measure supported by Catholics for the Common Good that would require the notification of an adult family member before abortion is performed on a minor girl. 48% of the voters were in favor of Prop 4, and 52% voted against it. This is the third time in six years that this crucial measure to promote parental rights and protect minor girl failed in California.

California bishops were urging support for Prop 4. "We believe that society's common good is enhanced when parental responsibility is respected, family integrity is honored and nascent human life is preserved", said the bishops in their statement in support of Prop 4, in which they commended the Proposition as containing "public policy that is both sensible and realistic and which will benefit not only our families but our society as a whole."

It is a sensible policy to encourage a minor girl faced with a serious decision like an unexpected pregnancy to go to her parents or family for their love, their wisdom, and their counsel. It is a realistic policy that her parents or family be notified of her request for an abortion whether or not she chooses to consult them. Society will benefit because similar involvement laws in other states have the effect of discouraging irresponsible sexual behavior and teenage pregnancies. In addition, individual rights and unborn babies will be protected because a minor girl will be afforded support in the unfortunate circumstance that she is being coerced to have an abortion.
California Bishops,
Statement in Support of Prop 4

The bishops articulated the reasons for their support: " It is a sensible policy to encourage a minor girl faced with a serious decision like an unexpected pregnancy to go to her parents or family for their love, their wisdom, and their counsel. It is a realistic policy that her parents or family be notified of her request for an abortion whether or not she chooses to consult them. Society will benefit because similar involvement laws in other states have the effect of discouraging irresponsible sexual behavior and teenage pregnancies. In addition, individual rights and unborn babies will be protected because a minor girl will be afforded support in the unfortunate circumstance that she is being coerced to have an abortion."

"It has been argued that you can't legislate communication between parents and their teenage daughters", said Dolores Meehan, the spokesperson for Prop 4 Campaign, "we agree, however, the current status of the law bans parents from being informed that their minor daughter is seeking an abortion (for example, the law forbids the school nurse to notify a parent if their daughter is seeking an abortion; that same nurse must acquire parental consent if she gives the same minor an aspirin) - we would simply like that ban to be removed so that parents can be involved in the most important decision their teenager will be making."

Meehan also pointed out, "There is something sinister about the state legislating what parents can and cannot know about the children for whom they are in every other way responsible, especially when that knowledge is of an invasive surgical or chemical abortion." 

Meehan explained some compelling reasons for adopting Prop 4. "More and more, young girls are exploited by older men.  Today, a sexual predator is able to coerce his victim into a secret abortion at the taxpayers' expense.  How can that be?  When a parent is not involved in their daughter's abortion, Medi-Cal picks up the tab.  Abortion clinics rarely if ever report sexual abuse.  When the abortion remains secret, so does the abuse.  When was the last time you heard of a child being sexually abused only one time?  This is why prosecutors and law enforcement agencies support Sarah's Law."

This is the third time that a parental notification initiative is on the ballot- both previous attempts failed, with Prop 73 in 2005 getting 47.2 per cent of the vote, and Prop 85 in 2006 getting 45.8 per cent. This time the language of the initiative has been modified to address some of the opponents' concerns about abusive parents: Prop 4 requires notification of an adult family member, not necessarily a parent, but possibly a grandparent, stepparent, foster parent, aunt, uncle, sibling, half-sibling, or first cousin of the pregnant minor. 

Currently 35 states have parental notification laws.

For more details on Prop 4, go to www.yeson4.net.



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