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California to vote on parent's involvement in teen abortions.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Californians will vote in November on the Parents' Right to Know and Child Protection Initiative which asks voters to approve a state constitutional amendment that requires parental involvement in a teen's decision to terminate a pregnancy. Polls indicate that the initiative is likely to succeed.

The amendment would:

* require abortion providers to notify the parent or guardian of girls 17 and under at least 48 hours before performing the procedure,

* require abortion providers report all abortions performed on minors to the state,

* enable minors to obtain court action to waive parental notification,

* provide civil fines for failure to comply,

* require the state to track all abortions performed on minors.

According to several polls, Californians continue to support strongly a woman's right to a first trimester abortion and they are also vigorously supportive of parental involvement in teen abortions. Promoters of the initiative drive, Life on the Ballot, claim that parental notification and consent laws are reducing teen pregnancy rates in other states and is a deterrent to teenage promiscuity. Opponents of the initiative such as Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, Inc. argue that "abortion rates are down in all states, including those like California that don't have parental notification laws."

Thirty-three states have parental notification or consent laws.

In Canada, according to the Childbirth by Choice Trust, freestanding abortion clinics do not require a parent's permission for an abortion, if it is clear that the teenager understands what she is doing. However, hospital practices vary and some hospitals require parental consent for any type of surgery performed on a young person. The age when parental consent is required varies. Hospitals, clinics, and health insurance plans are obligated to keep the names of teenagers who have abortions secret.
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Title Annotation:CHILD & FAMILY
Publication:Community Action
Date:Aug 22, 2005
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