Prop. 73 revisits abortion laws
for minors

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Prop. 73 revisits abortion laws for minors
Posted November 2, 2005

Yelena Ovcharenko
LV Life Editor

Proposition 73 has residents divided on whether or not parents should have the right to know about their daughter’s abortion and be contacted by the physician within 48 hours before the abortion is carried out if she is a minor.

This proposition would allow parents to be aware of their child’s actions, since the primary concern of a parent is to keep the child safe.

The new law would define abortion as the death of an unborn child, and the only exceptions would be medical emergencies, parental waivers and court waivers.

Supporters claim that parents have the right to know about their children’s actions.

“If your parents are supporting you, they have a right to know if you get an abortion,” said University of La Verne student and Upland resident Diana Castillo.

Parents’ Right to Know and Child Protection, an organization that is advocating Proposition 73, claims that minors should not have abortions without having the parents informed because minors need parental guidance and advice prior to making such a critical decision at a young age.

One of the organization’s main arguments supporting Proposition 73 is that girls under 18 years of age cannot recieve an aspirin from the school nurse without the notification of a parent, therefore, a pregnant and scared girl needs the advice and support of a parent in making such a critical decision in life.

However, some feel that California does not need a new abortion law.

“The teen pregnancy rate has declined in the past 10 years without any new laws,” said Jessica Langtry, spokeswoman for Campaign for Teen Safety. “We really feel that the laws are working great as they are now.”

Some California residents claim that the responsibility of notifying the parent of the intended abortion should rest on the child.

“It’s none of the parents’ business,” said  ULV junior psychology major Jessica Sanchez.

Sanchez also said that if the child was mature enough to get involved in a sexual relationship knowing its aftereffects, then she should be responsible for making the decision of having an abortion or not.

Currently minors in California receive the same abortion services as adults, and a number of parents are against this proposed abortion amendment because if passed, it would raise the risk and chances for girls to seek crude, unsafe and illegal methods of abortion to prevent their parents from finding out about it.

“Sixty percent of teens go to one or both parents prior to having an abortion and the other 40 percent usually come from dysfunctional families,” Langtry said.

To show the state’s opinion on the issue prior to the Nov. 8 special election in October the Public Policy Institute of California conducted a statewide survey titled the Special Survey on Californians and the Initiative Process.

The survey interviewed 2,300 randomly selected California adult residents. It found that 48 percent of those surveyed believe that the current abortion laws should be left as they are. However, 35 percent said that abortion laws need to be stricter and that it should be harder for minors to get an abortion.

Only 51 percent of the polled population said that Proposition 73 is going to have an important and significant outcome.

Based on similar laws in other states this proposition may reduce the number for abortions obtained by minors and, therefore, reduce government costs since fewer abortions would be performed under state health care programs, said Parents’ Right to Know and Child Protection.

This proposition might bring some losses as well. Unknown sales costs of several million dollars would be needed annually for health and social services programs, the courts and state administration. 

If passed, Proposition 73 would cost the state $350,000 for the first year and $150,000 for the following years in order to develop the necessary forms and preparations needed to successfully implement this amendment.

Despite these costs reformers believe that the proposition would improve California and decrease its number of abortions done by minors.

“Kids should be comfortable of telling their parents about an abortion,” said Monterey Park resident Ashley Mendez. “I hope it passes.”

Yelena Ovcharenko can be reached at