Sen. Yee, Health officials oppose Prop. 4

October 29, 2008 11:25:06 AM PDT
State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, and local health officials opposed a proposition today that would require doctors to notify parents at least 48 hours before performing abortions on girls under the age of 18.

Proposition 4 on the November ballot would amend the state Constitution to prohibit abortion for unemancipated minors until 48 hours after physician notifies the minor's parent or legal guardian. It would not require consent from the parent or legal guardian. Girls could obtain a court waiver to bypass the notification with few other exceptions.

Yee and other opponents from Stanford Medical Center and the American Civil Liberties Union said at a news conference in San Francisco today that requiring young adults to open those lines of communication under pregnancy conditions could cause girls to resort to other unsafe options.

Yee said especially in Asian American households, parents have a difficult time speaking openly about pregnancy and sex, and girls might be scared of defaming the family name so they would go to extreme lengths to keep it from their parents.

He suggested they might cross state lines, leave the country or even try to perform operations on their own to prevent having to burden the family with a pregnancy.

"We hope that she can make that decision with her physician rather than force her to look at inappropriate or illegal ways of termination," he said.

A spokesman for Yes on 4 said "that is such nonsense, it's hard to even comment on it."

Calling the proposition unsafe is a scare tactic to divert the attention away from the "real issue," Yes on 4 spokesman Albin Rhomberg said.

The Yes on 4 campaign believes that getting rid of what Rhomberg called "secret abortions" will deter predators from having relations with minors such as clergy or teachers. He said since young women would not have the option to perform a surgery without a parent knowing, adults could not pressure minors into getting one without repercussions.

He said teenagers cannot do anything without parental consent such as get ibuprofen from a school nurse or drive a car so when it comes to surgery, parents should have oversight.

"Is it better for a stranger to make a decision? Or is it better for the parent to do it?" he said.

The proposition has been rewritten and voted on twice in the past four years.


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