October 26, 2005

Prop 73 even worse than previously thought

I've only mentioned it once or twice, but there's a Parental Notification law on the ballot for the election in California in just a few weeks. Any Parental Notification law is bad, of course, but this was has some particularly nasty bits:

Like most such laws in other states, Prop. 73 provides a court alternative: A minor could appear before a Superior Court judge and obtain permission for an abortion by showing, with clear and convincing evidence, that she is 'sufficiently mature and well-informed'' to make the decision on her own or that notifying a parent would not be in her best interest.

The hearing and the minor's name would be kept confidential, but the judge's decision would not. Prop. 73 would require each court to issue a public report once a year on how many abortion requests each judge has granted and denied.

Apparently, it's fairly common for doctors and judges to be required to report this sort of thing for statistical purposes; but their names are not published. Why did the authors of this bill include this unusual provision? Because politicization of judges is a good thing. No, I'm not kidding, that's what they say:

Stan Devereux, spokesman for the Yes-on-73 campaign, said the purpose of the reporting requirement is to make judges accountable to the public.

"Given the politicized nature of abortion, shouldn't there be some kind of accountability to make sure that judges are doing their job rather than following their own ideology?'' he asked.

"As public officials, we are subject to evaluation by the public,'' said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Nash, president of Juvenile Court Judges of California, whose members would conduct most of the hearings under Prop. 73. If a judge's abortion rulings became a campaign issue, he said, "that's really one of the hazards of being an elected public official.''

Yet another problem crops up in the language used by the bill to define an abortion:

The other Prop. 73 provision that worries opponents is its definition of abortion as a procedure that intentionally causes "the death of the unborn child, a child conceived but not yet born.'' That differs from the current definition of abortion under state law as a "medical treatment intended to induce the termination of a pregnancy.''

You don't abort a child, or even a foetus or embryo; you abort a pregnancy. And, of course, this language lumps a foetus or embryo in with children, which is nothing more than begging the question. It does seem true that this wouldn't have any immediately legal consequences, but as more laws around the country employ this sort of language, the better pro-coathanger lawyers will be able to argue in front of the Supreme Court that abortion is infanticide.


MosBen said...

I do not support Prop 73. I do, however, support Prop 1337.

Noumena said...

Well, of course. Only n00b5 don't support Prop 1337.