California Statewide Ballot Propositions and Recommendations: Prop 4

Proposition 4 would amend the state constitution to prohibit abortion by minors until 48 hours after a physician notifies a parent or legal guardian. Physicians who refuse to follow the rules would be held liable. Minors would have to consent to abortion. Various exceptions to these rules are also made. Costs are minimal. Proponents argue that a minor's safety is in danger unless the family knows - they cite the case of Sarah, a 15 year old who died of a cervix infection after getting a secret abortion. They argue that when abortions are secret, adult sexual predators go free, and that abortion providers have a responsibility to provide information about the crimes to a family member or law enforcement. Opponents argue that the backers are provoking fear to advance their own agenda. The cases cited are not representative, the opposition believes parental notification won't reduce teen pregnancy and puts teenagers in danger.

My vote: NO.It's easy to amend the state constitution and much harder to remove amendments. The Constitution is meant to be broad, to lay down principles for judges to interpret. This sort of specific language has no place in the Constitution. Abortion is legal in the United States. I agree with the opposition that parental notification could cause scared teenagers to do dangerous things. Furthermore if a teen can't bring a parent to the clinic they would have to wait two weeks or more for notification to be mailed back and forth from the clinic. I don't believe Planned Parenthood is a malicious force and I think they do what they can to help teenagers in times of crisis. Teens ought to have the ability to choose what they want to do with their bodies without that decision hinging on a parent.

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