By Christina Hernandez
If California voters pass Proposition 4, the Abortion Waiting Period and Parental Notification Initiative, the results could potentially do more harm than good.
Proposition 4, affectionately referred to as “Sarah’s Law,” would mandate doctors to notify an unemancipated minor’s parents before proceeding with an abortion, according to the California Voter Information Guide. This would exclude medical emergencies. The Voter Information Guide 2008 also notes that, if the minor’s parents are abusive, the doctor is to notify law enforcement or Child Protective Services and then require approval for the abortion from another adult relative.
The concept has been on California ballot before. Proposition 73 and 85, two similar propositions initiated in 2005 and 2006 respectively, did not pass. Admittedly, Proposition 4 has been improved upon since the last attempt to change California’s laws surrounding abortion failed. This time, it is acceptable for the minor in question to notify another adult family member if her parents are abusive, but this still doesn’t solve the problem.
Also, “the unemancipated minor may appeal the judgment of the juvenile court,” the text of the proposed law includes.
This may appear fine on paper, but in application, can easily fail. It’s commonly known that court cases are not processed quickly and neatly. Waiting for a court case to be decided could potentially take weeks, at the very least. The embryo can’t put off growing and wait for the case to be handled. The potential for serious risks associated with abortion increase as the pregnancy furthers, according to MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.
“Notice of an unemancipated minor’s intent to obtain an abortion may be waived by her parent,” the text of the proposed law also states.
This is one of the most disturbing sections of the text. Though it’s difficult to forget any philosophical arguments against this, it comes down to the simple fact that someone can be forced to carry and eventually bear a child. Forced.
Children are gifts, and do not deserve the title “unwanted.”
Who actually thinks an unwanted pregnancy is easy to deal with? Who promotes sex at an early age? Each side wants to protect the youth. However, it’s also clear that what’s been proposed is too much of an ideal to work in real life. Teens can’t always turn to their parents or have a relative they trust. Sometimes the people who are supposed to be nurturing and supportive are cruel and twisted.
No matter what path she takes, the life of a girl who faces an unwanted pregnancy is changed forever. It becomes different, a life complicated enough with her own internal dissonance. If she has no relative to turn to, forcing her into this situation would only make the ordeal more tumultuous, and potentially destructive for her. A teen may be too frightened to get medical help when she needs it, or even put herself through an unsafe abortion.
“Proposition 4 won’t transform abusive, dysfunctional families into stable, supportive ones,” wrote the ACLU of Northern California on their Web site.
And ridiculously, frustratingly, “Sarah,” the teen who inspired the proposition wouldn’t have benefited from it. She died because of complications due to a tear in her cervix from the abortion, according to Yeson4.net. The girl behind the tidy Anglo-American pseudonym was 15-year-old Jammie Garcia Yanez-Villegas, who was already a mother in a common-law marriage at the time of her death, according and August 2008 article in The San Diego Union-Tribune. The law would have not saved her, let alone affected her at all.