California’s Prop 4: Abortion and Parental Notification
Article audio sponsored by The John Birch Society

The problem, say advocates of California ballot initiative Proposition 4, is this: "In California, a girl under age 18 can’t get a tan at a tanning salon, a cavity filled, or an aspirin dispensed by the school nurse without a parent knowing. But a doctor can perform a surgical or chemical abortion on a young girl without informing a parent.

The answer to this problem, they argue, is Prop 4, which would amend the California Constitution to "require a doctor to notify at least one adult family member before performing an abortion on an under-18-year-old girl."


Even self-described "pro-choice" Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sees the common sense in requiring that parents — or some adult family member — be in the loop before a young girl undergoes a serious procedure such as an abortion. Responding to a question by NBC’s Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press as to whether the governor supports Prop 4, Schwarzenegger said:

Yes, I support that. I think there should be a notification of the parents, and I was always for that. And I have two daughters myself. I would not want to have someone in the school take my daughter to a clinic to get an abortion without telling me or my wife. I think one or the other should know. If my daughter decides she doesn’t want to let me know but she feels more comfortable with my wife, that’s perfectly fine with me, because my wife and I, we are partners in raising our kids. But someone, one of us both, should know, and I believe in that 100 percent.

Anticipating the arguments of the pro-abortion lobby — that requiring parental consent would possibly subject pregnant girls to an abusive parent (or parents) — Prop 4 provides that the abortion provider may notify, in lieu of the parents, any "adult family member," which is defined as "a person at least 21 years of age who is the grandparent, stepparent, foster parent, aunt, uncle, sibling, half-sibling, or first cousin of an unemancipated minor."

"Sarah’s Law"

Prop 4 is also known as "Sarah’s Law," named for a 15-year-old Texas girl who died in 1994 as the result of an abortion. The girl, known only as "Sarah" at the time, has since been identified as Jammie Garcia. Prop 4 proponents claim that if adult relatives had been informed of her abortion, she likely would have gotten timely medical treatment and her life would have been saved.

Two previous similar initiatives narrowly failed in California, after being heavily outspent by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Prop 73 mustered 47.5 percent of the vote in 2005. In 2006, parental rights advocates came back again with Prop 85, which garnered 45.8 percent of the vote. In both instances, Planned Parenthood and its allies in the major media succeeded in scaring enough voters with advertisements, editorials, and "news" stories claiming that "women" will be denied needed abortion services by the parental involvement requirements.

This time around, the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is again the largest funder of the effort to stop the parental involvement initiative. According to the non-partisan, financial reports filed as of June 30, 2008 showed Planned Parenthood providing about $3 million of the $4 million raised to fight against Prop 4. By contrast, pro-Prop 4 forces have raised roughly $2.4 million.

Perhaps just as important as (or, arguably, more important than) the paid ads and official campaign literature of the Planned Parenthood forces, is the steady drumbeat of anti-Prop 4 coverage in the major media. It is no surprise that ultra-liberal, pro-abortion dailies like the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times oppose Prop 4 and retail Planned Parenthood’s arguments and scenarios against the measure. The Chronicle calls Prop 4 "unnecessary — and even insidious" and editorializes that "the practical effect of this measure would be to put many young women at risk by delaying abortion procedures, and thus making them more medically complicated."

The Los Angeles Times featured an op-ed on September 15 entitled "California’s deceptive Proposition 4," with a subtitle that declares: "It says it’s about parental notification, but it’s really about attacking legalized abortion."

Protecting Predators and Profits

The Prop 4 advocates claim: "On a daily basis, older men exploit young girls and use secret abortions to cover up their crimes." They also point to numerous documented examples in which abortion providers, especially including Planned Parenthood, engage in criminal activity by covering up the rapes and statutory rapes by the adult predators. How serious is the problem? In her testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in June, 2004, Professor Teresa Collett noted:

In a study of over 46,000 pregnancies by school-age girls in California, researchers found that "71%, or over 33,000, were fathered by adult post-high-school men whose mean age was 22.6 years, an average of 5 years older than the mothers…. Even among junior high school mothers aged 15 or younger, most births are fathered by adult men 6-7 years their senior. Men aged 25 or older father more births among California school-age girls than do boys under age 18." Other studies have found that most teenage pregnancies are the result of predatory practices by men who are substantially older.

Planned Parenthood has been caught red-handed repeatedly. Especially chilling is a series of "sting" calls made to 92 abortion centers in California (including 73 run by Planned Parenthood) by a young woman identifying herself as a 13-year-old girl who had been impregnated by a 22-year-old man. Even if consensual, by law, that is statutory rape in California. As such, it requires reporting to law enforcement or Child Protective Services.

However, in case after case, the Planned Parenthood personnel assured the young caller that they would gladly provide the abortion without notifying the girl’s parents or anyone else for that matter. What’s more, the Planned Parenthood abortionists were fine with having the statutory rapist bring the girl in, and had no problem with his cellphone being the only means of communication with their prospective new "client." (You can listen to those recorded calls with Planned Parenthood here. And you can also watch the video news report of UCLA investigative journalism student Lila Rose’s sting of a Los Angeles Planned Parenthood abortion facility here.)

Planned Parenthood has a billion motives for fighting Prop 4 and banning parents from the abortion equation. In its annual report for 2006-2007, released in March of this year, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), reported revenues of over $1 billion, of which $336 million was derived from government grants and contracts.

Opinion polls show Prop 4, which will be on the California ballot in November, being too close to call at this point, although a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California in late August looked positive for the measure, with 47 percent of likely voters in favor and 44 percent opposed.