More than 35 states protect young girls from the exploitation of secret abortions through parental involvement laws. California is not one of them. The California Supreme Court struck down the state’s parental consent law before it had a chance to go into effect, and voter initiatives for parental notification laws have been narrowly defeated after being massively outspent. In spite of these setbacks, efforts to protect minors from the exploitation of secret abortions are still being made. Assembly Member Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) introduced ACA 5, known as the “Parental Notification, Child and Teen Safety, Stop Predators Act,” which would place on the California ballot a Constitutional Amendment requiring parental notification before an abortion could be performed on a minor.
Unfortunately, California’s legislature remains firmly in the grasp of 1970’s-style feminists sporting coat-hanger lapel pins, unshaken in their belief that enacting parental involvement laws will cause young girls to die by subjecting them to the wrath of abusive parents, driving them to procure “unsafe” abortions by non-legal means, or causing them to delay their abortions.
Seeking to help debunk these myths, LLDF’s Legal Director, Katie Short, wrote a letter to Richard Pan, Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee. In the letter, she points out that the claim that these laws endanger the health of minors lacks empirical proof. Indeed, when this issue was subject to litigation as part a 2008 effort to place a parental involvement law on the ballot, opponents were unable to show a single documented case of a minor being harmed by a parental notification law. Given that these laws are in place in over 35 states and have been in effect in some states for as long as three decades, the lack of such proof is itself striking evidence that these laws do not harm minors. Read full letter here.
To make matters worse, California now allows abortions to be performed by non-physicians. A13-year-old girl seeking an abortion might not even see a doctor but will instead receive her abortion from a nurse practitioner or midwife. Further, regulations specific to abortion clinics, such as those requiring pre-abortion counseling and post-abortion staffing, as well as building code regulations, have been repealed by the legislature. Abortion is a medical procedure with inherent dangers under the best of circumstances. In California, that risk has been heightened by the removal of common-sense regulations and health standards. Not only could your child obtain an abortion without you ever knowing anything about it—there is a very real risk that the abortion will take place in an unregulated, unsafe environment, and will be performed by a midwife with minimal training.
In light of these heightened risks, ACA 5 is a common sense proposal that understandably enjoys large public support. There will be a hearing on ACA 5 in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, January 14, 2014. To read the bill, click here.