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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

California Voters  
Take a journey with Jane - a scared and pregnant 17-year old from an abusive family - through the judicial maze Prop 73 creates.

* Jane has a positive pregnancy test at the doctor's office and after counseling decides to end the pregnancy. Jane tells the doctor she can't notify her parents because she fears their abuse. The doctor tells Jane she has to obtain a court order waiving "notice" before she may provide medical services.
* Jane then has to figure out where the juvenile court is and how she's going to get there, because she doesn't have a car. Once she gets there she has to tell the court clerk that she is pregnant and needs a waiver to have an abortion. (Hopefully Jane doesn't live in a small town, where the court clerk happens to be her neighbor.)
* At some point Jane has to fill out forms that require her to give detailed facts about her pregnancy, her reasons for wanting to end her pregnancy and why she cannot notify her parents.
* After meeting and explaining her situation again to her court-appointed guardian and lawyer, a hearing is set. In practice, this may occur 4-5 days later. (As a reminder, Jane is probably missing school while she's going to court and meeting with her lawyer and guardian.)
* At the hearing, Jane must appear personally in front of a judge. She bears the burden of persuading the judge by "clear and convincing evidence" that she is mature enough to make the decision or that an abortion without parental notification is in her best interest. There is no definition of maturity or best interest in the initiative, leaving the decision entirely to the subjectivity of judges - some of whom may have personal beliefs against choice.
* After the hearing, the judge then has a day to decide. If the judge grants the petition, Jane can finally make an appointment to end her pregnancy. If the judge does not, Jane can appeal her case to the three-judge Court of Appeal, and the process begins again.

Imagine yourself in Jane's shoes. Would you be able to navigate this confusing judicial process? Can you imagine having to go to court as a teenager, explaining to a judge you have never met before (and the clerk, court reporter, guardian, lawyer and possibly translator also present in the room) the intimate details of your life and why you need to end your pregnancy?

Jane doesn't need a judge, she needs a counselor and quality medical care from caring doctors and nurses. And what about those teens, like Jane, who can't wind their way through this judicial maze? Some may resort to illegal or self-induced abortions, resulting in serious injury or even death.

That's why the California Nurses Association, California Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, California all OPPOSE Prop 73.

From Campaign for Teen Safety

This proposition has nothing to do with protecting teens and everything to do with outlawing abortion. The fact is, most teens who are pregnant and seeking an abortion DO tell their parents about it. I told my parents, even though they are very religious and it was difficult to do so. I didn't need a law to make me.

"This is our first opportunity since Roe v. Wade to pass a baby-saving law in California," stated one ad in San Francisco Faith, a magazine for San Francisco Bay Area Catholics owned by James Holman, publisher of the San Diego Reader and chief financial backer of Proposition 73. Sacramento Bee - October 10, 2005

Baby-saving, not teen-saving. There you have it. The real target is choice, plain and simple. This proposition is the first salvo against Roe v. Wade itself.