Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Nervous About Proposition 73 ...

As I mentioned earlier, one of the scary initiatives on the November ballot is Proposition 73. Prop 73 would require all doctors to give parents a 48-hour notice when their teenage daughter wants to get an abortion. Not only does this violate the fundamental right to privacy, but it will deter many terrified girls who get pregnant from having a safe abortion when they are unprepared to face the daunting task of raising a child. They will either have the child, or get the abortion in dangerous back-alleys.

Of course, in an ideal situation, we want parents to be part of the decision -- and most of the time, they are. But Prop 73 would mandate parental notification. Supporters claim that teenage girls who believe that they will be in danger can apply for a "judicial bypass" -- where a judge can waive the notice requirement. But do you really think that a terrified teenage girl will know how to navigate our judicial process?? For more info on why Prop 73 is wrong, click here.

This semester, as part of the Street Law program, I am teaching a 12th-grade class at Mission High School -- introducing them to basic, practical aspects of the law like family law, consumer law, housing law and criminal law. Because we are doing Family Law, I gave my students the Official Ballot Arguments for and against Prop 73, and assigned them to write a one-page essay on how they would vote.

Because my students are teenagers, I fully expected them to unanimously oppose this initiative. I am shocked to report that out of the 17 students who did the assignment, 9 said they would vote "Yes," 7 said they would vote "No," and one said that they were undecided. Keep in mind that these are High School students in SAN FRANCISCO.

Back in 1997, the religious right attempted to get a proposition on the California ballot that would require parental consent. I believe that this current effort to get parental notification is a less-radical, poll-tested attempt to get the same outcome they want -- to take away a woman's reproductive freedom.

More insidiously, Prop 73 is a Constitutional Amendment, which would put the following language in the California Constitution:

The authors of this initiative have slipped in a provision that would add “unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born” to the California Constitution.

This could have legal repercussions that we don't yet know. Again, another attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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