Sunday, April 20, 2008

California Referendum in November to Require Family Notification of Abortions on Minor Daughters

Sarah’s Law petitions submitted to county clerks; official count pending, but appears measure has qualified for ballot

Friends of Sarah, the organization of doctors, nurses, teachers, and concerned family members behind the effort to place Sarah's Law on the November ballot, has announced that a record number of California voters have signed the qualifying petition.

"As the signature-gathering period has unfolded, we have been overwhelmed with calls from voters across the state who want to support this measure," said Grace Dulaney, a spokeswoman for Friends of Sarah.

Sarah's Law is a new family-member notification initiative that will require that a doctor notify one adult family member before performing an abortion on a minor girl. The measure is named for a 15-year-old who underwent a surgical abortion without her family's knowledge. The doctor tore her cervix, causing her to develop an infection and she died as a result. Medical experts testified that had a family member known in time, her life could have been saved.

Dulaney explained that the number of signatures required for an amendment to the state constitution, such as Sarah's Law, rose sharply following the 2006 gubernatorial election. "The number of signatures required is based on the turnout in the preceding race for governor," she said. "Since record numbers of voters came out in 2006, we had to collect 150,000 more signatures than previous initiatives required. But we did it with a tremendous groundswell of support from a broad cross-section of Californians."

In fact, a statewide total of well over 1.2 million signatures collected for Sarah's Law were submitted to each of the 58 county clerks on or before Friday, April 18.

"Sarah's Law is a common sense law," said Dulaney. "In California, school nurses can't even dispense an aspirin to a young girl without getting permission, yet a legal loophole allows girls to be secretly removed from school to undergo surgical or chemical abortions. This has to change." California Catholic

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