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Where Do You Stand: Parental Notification For Teen Abortions


I was flipping through my Official Voter Information Guide the other night and started reading about California's Proposition 4, which involves parental notification for minors' abortions. I took a quick poll of my friends in the room, and they were divided, so I want to know what you all think. The amendment would prohibit abortion for a minor until 48 hours after the doctor notifies a parent or legal guardian. The requirement can be waived if the minor provides, in court, clear and convincing evidence that a waiver is in her best interest. The voter pamphlet included arguments and rebuttals from both sides. Here are some excerpts (emphasis all theirs):

  • Argument in Favor of Proposition 4: It's time to close the loophole in California law that allows minor girls to be taken for secret chemical or surgical abortions by anyone — even an adult male who impregnated her — WITHOUT THE DOCTOR NOTIFYING ANY FAMILY MEMBER. These predators can even take girls out of school to hide their crimes. . . . Proposition 4 would require doctors to notify a parent or, in case of parental abuse, another adult family member.
  • Argument Against Proposition 4: A SCARED, PREGNANT TEEN who can't go to her parents can feel trapped and desperate. Instead of seeking the counseling and safe medical care she needs, she MAY CHOOSE AN UNSAFE, BACK ALLEY, ILLEGAL ABORTION, GO ACROSS THE BORDER, OR EVEN CONTEMPLATE SUICIDE. . . . If our daughters couldn't come to us, for whatever reason, the most important thing is keeping them safe. Think about it: she's pregnant, she can't go to her parents, and she's already desperate. She isn't going to go to court to reveal the most intimate details of her life to an unfamiliar judge in a impersonal courthouse.

You can read the full arguments and rebuttals here.

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