Proposition 4 strengthens families and protects children

Minors have long been required to gain consent before they can do certain things, such as getting a body piercing or choosing to drop out of high school. These sort of parental co-singings have been implemented because it is generally held to be true that a child cannot always make an informed and responsible decision on his or her own, and thus the consent of the person taking care of this child is deemed necessary. Young adults do not function at the same maturity level as adults and thus require guidance when making decisions, whether those be in the form of body modification, a choice to opt out of compulsory education, and in this case, life-changing moments, such as electing to undergo an abortion. But this proposed amendment does not even require that the parent or guardian of a minor girl seeking an abortion obtain consent; the parent or guardian must only be notified in ample time. In that time, the parent may support, oppose, or merely discuss the minor’s decision before the act is committed.

This prop does not only delay what might be a bad decision on the part of the minor, but has the secondary effects of this proposition weigh heavily in the argument for its passing. In the case of teens that are being sexually assaulted and impregnated as a result, the teen may then be coerced into seeking an abortion. If a law is passed stating that the parent or guardian of a minor must be notified of a desired abortion, thus obviously informing them that their child has been sexually active, they might find out that their daughter has been raped. If a potential predator knew of this possibility and the heightened chance of detection and prosecution, he might not commit the crime in the first place. This obviates an abortion, lowers teen pregnancy, and could even reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infection.

It is worth noting that this notification can be waived if the situation demands it; the proposed benefits of the proposition do not come before the health and well-being of the minor. Of course, in the case of a medical emergency, i.e., where the mother’s death or irreversible bodily damage is at risk, the notification can be waived. Also, a parent or guardian can provide a written and notarized waiver stating that the minor can act autonomously and without parental impediment. (Note: that the proposition literature does not state whether this waiver would be supplied at the time of the request for an abortion, or if it can be done beforehand as a sort of general release.) Further, a pregnant minor may ask a juvenile court to waive the notification. If the court finds that the pregnant minor is “sufficiently mature and well-informed” a physician may forgo the notification period and perform the operation.