These parental involvement laws enjoy the support of strong majorities of the American people, who believe that parents have a right to know that their daughter will undergo surgery that kills her child. Most parents also believe that their daughter has the right to be protected against the isolation and pressure in which the abortion “decision” is normally made. After all, the decision is not usually hers, but rather the result of friends, or the baby's father, or abortion clinic personnel telling her it is “the only thing to do.”
Some of the states' parental involvement laws are currently tied up in court, and we can always count on the groups that call themselves “pro-choice” to fight hard to deny parental rights. After all, every time a parent intervenes to provide his or her daughter with the strength necessary to do what is right, the abortion business loses a sale. And indeed, parental involvement laws reduce the numbers of abortions.
This November, the state with the most abortions California will have a ballot initiative called Proposition 73, which is a parental notification act. Voters will be able to decide on this measure, which would require abortionists to notify a minor (under 18) patient’s parent(s) of her scheduled abortion 48 hours before the appointment. If there is a case of abuse, incest, or medical emergency, this measure allows for a judge to grant an exception to the need to notify a parent.
Now is the time to urge all California residents to prepare to vote yes on Proposition 73, to inform their families, friends, and churches about it, and to volunteer their time and energy to see to it that it passes. Helpful websites include www.parentsright2know.org and www.caparentsrights.org. Right now polling shows a fairly close divide among California residents about this initiative. Everyone's help can make a difference.
Most people see how reasonable these measures are, however, when they reflect on a few facts. To quote from caparentsrights.org,
• A minor cannot be issued an aspirin at school without parental consent.
• Minors cannot go on field trips without parental notification and consent.
• Minors cannot be sentenced to death because they have poor or under-developed judgment, but they can unilaterally decide to have an abortion.
• Minors cannot drink, get tattoos, pierce their bodies, smoke, or serve in the military without parental consent.
• Parents will be held responsible for any costs or complications stemming from their minor daughter's abortion.
Parental involvement laws, of course, do not bring us to the final goal, which is to end abortion altogether. Parental notification or consent, of course, does not justify the abortion. But parental involvement laws limit the effects of an existing immoral abortion policy, and are therefore completely moral to support.
Fr. Pavone is the Founding Director of Priests for Life. You may contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Tel: 888-PFL-3448 or 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.priestsforlife.org.