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Citizen Voices

Talking about abortion is my least favorite topic for political discussion.  The subject is so divisive, and opinions are so deeply rooted in each person's belief system, that meaningful debate is practically impossible in the U.S.  While I fully understand that rhetoric will not normally sway another person from their opinion, there still exists some room for discussion.

Enter California Proposition 4 , the "Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy," or "Sarah's Law."  If passed, the proposition will change procedures for parental notification when an unemancipated minor seeks an abortion.  As the law stands, minors and adults have the same rights to end their pregnancies.  In addition, doctors would have the burden of both informing the minor's guardian and of waiting 48 hours before admitting an underage patient. 

Still, Prop 4 isn't about endorsing a pro-life or pro-choice agenda.  This proposition speaks to how voters think about how families operate.  Prop 4 tests the boundaries of what voters consider acceptable behavior by female children and their parents.  But do the changes merit a yes vote to appease parents left out of the loop of their daughter's sexual activity? 

Viurginia Natwick from San Diego
September 30, 2008 at 10:11 PM
My mother had foster children. It would be nice if all parents behaved as they should with care and understanding but that is not the case. I'm sure that children who have a good relationship with their parents will tell them of their circumstances. But to put children in a more desperate situation , I am much against. this proposition.



Candace
October 01, 2008 at 05:20 PM
Alma, I agree with you about the complexity of Prop 4. of Though many families are able to have honest dialogue about underage sexual activity, this is by no means true in most families. Years ago, I was a counselor in a Juvenile detention center and I learned firsthand, how many of them had been abused by family members. (Many of the girls were there because they were "chronic runaways". In fact they were running for their lives.) The statistics are horrendous and it is those girls that I worry about. Unfortunately violence against women often starts in the home, and I worry about the negative effect this proposition could have in such cases.

Matthew C. Scallon
October 02, 2008 at 08:23 PM
"But do the changes merit a yes vote to appease parents left out of the loop of their daughter's sexual activity?" First of all, congratulations on spelling "pro-life" correctly. That's progress. Secondly, parents are always going to be left out of most of their adolescent children's activities, not just the sexual ones. What Proposition 4 seeks is knowledge for those parents should complications arise from the abortion. A parent who finds their child mysteriously hemorraging would want to know why so that their doctor can offer effective treatment, treatment sadly missing from Sarah Doe, for whom the initiative is named. Although the other side of abortion debate likes to portray the abortion as a safe procedure, it is not. It is never safe for the baby, and it is often physically unsafe for the mother. Legality has not changed those medically scientific facts. As well, all of the straw men propped up by the abortion industry and regurgitated by Kenny Goldberg are not in this initiative. The girl can have another adult guardian told if she fears abuse from informing her parents, meaning that that straw man about having to go to court during a school day is not in this initiative. The abortionist won't face any jail time or fines should he not obey the law, only the presumption of culpability should the parents decide to sue, meaning that the straw man about abortionists facing hard time isn't in there. And, finally --and this straw man gets real old-- Roe won't be overturned by this initiative, even though it should be overturned for so many other reasons than this. And, so far as the vulnerability of your daughter, I take your point that you don't trust the state to stand in the way between you and her. I don't trust the state for much of anything, but that's another discussion. But, barring this initiative, it's the abortion industry, not the state, who now stand in the way, an industry that routinely covers up for statutory rape , that accepts contributions for explicitly racist purposes , and that overcharges the taxpayer for services . Hopefully, all my links work. Blame user error if they don't. In any event, read all about it yourself, and you'll see that the abortion industry should be treated at least as skeptically as the state, if not more.

ed from san diego
October 05, 2008 at 11:43 PM
A 12 or 13 year old child possess neither the maturity nor the intellect to make such a decision. Most physicians who resort to performing abortions to earn a living do so because they failed to complete a surgical residency and many do not have hospital affiliation. This is why they operate out of private clinics that do not have the necessary equipment should an emergency result. I resently researched a clinic that opened near my place of employment. The physician had at least a dozen lawsuits pending, at least 3 were for malpractice resulting in the patient's death. Other suits had been settled and this physician had lost his hospital privilages at the only little ringy-dink hospital that had taken a chance on him. How many 12 year old's whould posess the knowledge to do a detailed background check such as I did? No, children do not have the experience or knowledge to properly vet a physician, nor do they have the ability to grasp in a mature way the possible consequences of their decision. If they did, they would not be in the position that they find themselves in. We don't allow 12 year olds to drive. We don't allow 12 year olds to vote. We don't allow 12 year olds to sign contracts. We don't allow 12 year olds to give consent for other surgical procedures. Hell, we don't even allow the school nurse to dispense aspirin without parental consent. Maybe when enough parents get that call from their local middle school to come pick up little Mary's body after her death at the hands of an incompetent quack, the supposed adults in California will finally grow up.

Matthew C. Scallon
October 06, 2008 at 06:14 PM
@ed: "Maybe when enough parents get that call from their local middle school to come pick up little Mary’s body after her death at the hands of an incompetent quack, the supposed adults in California will finally grow up." Would that would be so. Unfortunately, most Californians have been fed a steady diet of abortion-ade for the past 40 years. The attitude in this state is that the abortion industry does no wrong. And, yet, there's hope. If Proposition 4 passes, it would mark a sea change to sanity.

Matthew C. Scallon
October 06, 2008 at 09:00 PM
@Candace: "Unfortunately violence against women often starts in the home, and I worry about the negative effect this proposition could have in such cases." truly concerned about the potential violence done by family members, this is the opportune time to get the family court system involved. That is why this initiative says that, should there be no family member that can be informed of the abortion, a family court hearing allows for a waver. If we are truly concerned about the violence in a girl's family, an abortionist should have enough humanity to get the family courts and CPS involved without being told by the state. Sadly, that level of humanity doesn't exhibit itself in your average abortionist. Given how he makes his living, we shouldn't be surprised.

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