Controversial Ballot Initiative May Return

Voters may get fourth chance to approve or defeat abortion law

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images / Logan Mock-Bunting
    Woman voting.

    Planned Parenthood of San Diego says the publisher of the San Diego Reader will pour $1 million or more into another effort to require that parents be notified when their teenage daughter seeks an abortion.

    Supporters of the controversial measure -- which would require doctors to notify parents when a teenage girl asks for an abortion -- are apparently trying for the fourth time to win voter approval for the ballot initiative.

    Controversial Ballot Initiative May Return

    [DGO] Controversial Ballot Initiative May Return
    Voters may get a fourth chance to approve or defeat abortion law. (Published Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009)

    California voters defeated the "parental notification" ballot measures in 2005, 2006 and 2008. The measures were strongly supported by Jim Holman, editor and publisher of the San Diego Reader, a popular local alternative newspaper. State records reveal that Holman loaned the "Yes on 4" campaign at least $1.5 million for its unsuccessful effort on last November's ballot.

    Planned Parenthood executive Vince Hall said Holman has lent or given a total of more than $3 million to the three initiatives that have gone down in defeat.

    Supporters of parental notification are crusading for a state law that would require a doctor to provide written notice to the parents of an unemancipated teenager that the girl has asked for an abortion. The doctor cannot perform the abortion until at least 48 hours after notifying parents.

    A supporter of the parental notification initiative has notified the state attorney general's office that he will attempt  to gather hundreds of thousands of voter signatures to place a very similar initiative on next year's ballot. The supporter is "John Smith," but Planned Parenthood said there's plenty of evidence that Reader publisher Holman is behind the effort.

    "The text of the initiative, the font that is used [on the document], the name of the person [Smith] that submitted it, are all identical to the three initiatives that Californians have already defeated," Hall said.

    Neither Holman nor others involved in the parental notification effort returned phone calls seeking comment on the latest  initiative effort.

    Planned Parenthood opposes parental notification. The organization claims that some teenage girls simply cannot talk with their parents about their unwanted pregnancy and need to make the decision themselves, with help from a trained counselor.