Parental Notification/Judicial Bypass
bobsheridan at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 5 06:46:57 PST 2005
FYI, from the San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com) Letters department:
A retired judge views parental notification
Editor -- As a retired Alameda County Superior Court judge with juvenile
court experience, I disagree strongly with Debra J. Saunders' column
about Proposition 73 ("Parents should be notified," Nov 3). The
initiative requires the doctor to notify a parent before performing an
abortion on a girl under the age of 18, unless the girl goes to court
for an order "bypassing" the requirement.
Recently, the Juvenile Court Judges section of the California Judges
Association took a stand against Prop. 73, stating that it "would impose
substantial burdens" on an "already overburdened court system." That
shouldn't surprise anyone.
Courts can be a difficult place for even the most experienced citizens
-- including lawyers and judges. Complex laws and procedures are often
necessary to enforce laws and protect citizens. But court is certainly
not the place to send a scared, pregnant teenager who, for whatever
reasons, fears talking to her parents.
Think about it: Prop. 73 would require her to navigate a crowded
courthouse, find her way through an unfamiliar legal system, discuss her
most intimate family issues -- possibly including abuse and incest --
with a guardian and a lawyer (both appointed by the court) whom she has
just met, and then face a judge who has the power to make a decision
that can affect the rest of her life.
She doesn't need a judge -- she needs sympathetic counseling and expert
Of course, all parents want their daughters to come to them when they
are in trouble. And studies show that most teenagers do involve at least
one parent when faced with decisions about an unplanned pregnancy.
But let's be real. Not all families are ideal. Unfortunately, many young
women come from families where there is already abuse, or worse, incest.
These girls cannot, for real fear for their safety, involve their parents.
I believe that requiring pregnant teenagers to choose between going to
court or telling their parents will only dissuade them from seeking
competent professional help, and could induce them to leave the state or
resort to illegal, unsafe or even self-induced abortions.
Prop. 73 cannot force communication in families that are dysfunctional.
It cannot assure that an overburdened juvenile-court system will protect
pregnant teenagers. But it can put the safety of our most vulnerable
young women at risk.
Their safety is our responsibility. That's why I'm voting no on Prop. 73.
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Size: 73 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://lists.ucla.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/private/conlawprof/attachments/20051105/4b90a6ce/bobsheridan.vcf
More information about the Conlawprof