The idea behind the proposition is fine: a family should have good communication, especially about pregnancy, and this communication should promote good decision making in young adults, still maturing and looking for the wisdom and guidance of older, informed parents.
But the logic of this proposition breaks down at this point: if a family has open communication about sex and fills in the holes that sex education leaves, teens will make smarter sexual choices. But if a child cannot speak to her parents about sex, then a physician’s notification cannot force open these lines of communication. No law can ensure that a minor’s parents will discuss all the options for their pregnant daughter, and no law can guarantee that said parents will not either demand or prohibit the abortion, despite the wishes of the girl who may have wanted to, or now is forced to carry this baby to term.
What this proposition can do is help erode the Roe v. Wade decision. Allowing the creation of a medical bureaucracy that thrusts the government’s meddling hand further into affairs that should remain governed by families will not prevent teen pregnancies, stop sexual predators, or protect teens from STDs.
Also, claiming that a sexual predator will not rape a girl because he may more easily be caught and punished is like asserting that someone will not commit a murder because of the fear of capital punishment, a system that has been proven to be a failed deterrent.
Prop 4 will do very little to prevent sexual abuse of young girls, and it should not be expected to.
A law that is about abortion and parental notification should focus on the primary goal of the law, not the hoped-for secondary effects based on speculation. This proposition should be viewed from a fiscal standpoint, as well. If teen abortions are curbed, the increase in births among the lower socioeconomic classes will place a heavier burden on Medical; CalWORKS, the government program that assists low-income families, would see a cost of “a few million dollars annually.” Add to this the court costs of teens seeking appeals, an estimated $2.2 billion, and we now face a law that expands the role of the government and creates, as bureaucracies often prove, an inefficient and costly impediment to a matter that private citizens can and should themselves govern.
Since physicians can be sued for non-adherence to this law if established, the incidence of lawsuits will increase. Even an armchair economist can see the chain of costly events that will result: frivolous lawsuits increase, and thus the demand for malpractice insurance goes up even higher. Assuming that the medical system will not pocket this cost, the consumer-as-patient will be handed the difference in their medical bills.
Just as the proponents of Roe v. Wade argued, women without the access to abortions will not stop having abortions; they will seek them elsewhere, and when safe alternatives do not exist, the “back alley” option gets raised—something daughters should not have to contemplate when we have safe and effective services, such as Planned Parenthood. In the end, no one wins with this bill—not the daughters, not the families, and not physicians. No one wins, except for those looking to press harder one of most divisive issues in American politics.