Today's Dear Abby column features with a cautionary tale about how a parent's advice to her daughter, to in turn advise her pregnant friend to confide in her parents, turned violent. SHOCKED AND SADDENED IN SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF supposedly (I actually think there is no such person) writes about a "recent experience" in which her "almost 18" daughter, who is a high school senior and one of her classmates. "Jill" found out she was pregnant and told Mary that she couldn't tell her parents because they would have "a violent reaction." So Shocked tells her daughter to have "Jill" tell her violent parents anyway. "Jill" allegedly ends up beaten so badly that she is hospitalized and loses the baby.
Anyhow, Abby "believe" Shocked, and tells her she's not to blame. No one could have foreseen that parents whose daughter anticipates receiving a "violent reaction" would actually, you know, have a violent reaction. No one could have seen that coming. Oh, says, Abby, and by the way, "a year ago here in California, there was an attempt to legislate "parental notification" into law. Fortunately, it was voted down."
I think this story is bullshit. If there was a high school girl in Sherman Oaks who was beaten senseless by her dad "recently" and ended up babyless in the hospital, it would have been in the news. It wasn't. And Sherman Oaks is the kind of place where a local teenage girl volunteering for a teen-help hotline is considered newsworthy.
The timing of the story and Abby's reaction to it make me suspect that Abby knows the story is bullshit. It happened "recently" or "a few months ago" according to the letter writer. But oddly enough, it is being published on the last Friday in October, practically right before Californians vote on Prop 85, the parental notification initiative.
Lex is getting sick and tired of all the bullshit surrounding Prop 85.
If you are in favor of Prop 85 (https://yeson85.net/), you do not come out and say that you want parents to have the right to know what is going on, surgically, with their sexually active underaged daughters. That might not be compelling enough. Instead, you say that you don't want child molesters to have the right to conceal their crimes by taking their victims in for secret abortions. Oh puleaze.
Conversely, opponents of Prop 85 tell us that girls -- even if they are "almost 18" would be forced to carry their baby and face beatings or even murder at the hands of their meth-addicted ex-con fathers. This is utter crap.
Prop 85 expressly permits an abortion without parental notice under several conditions, including (i) the girl's doctor certifies that the abortion is necessary due to a medical emergency; (ii) the girl files a petition (anonymously, free, and with the assistance of the court and a free court-appointed guardian-ad-litem and court-appointed lawyer) in court and persuades a judge that she is mature and well-informed enough to decide to have an abortion; (iii) the court finds that notifying the parents is not in the best interests of the girl; or (iv) she files the petition and the judge does not rule immediately.
(f) Notice shall not be required under this Section if the attending physician certifies in the unemancipated minor's medical records the medical indications supporting the physician's good-faith clinical judgment that the abortion is necessary due to a medical emergency.
If the pregnant unemancipated minor elects not to permit notice to be given to a parent or guardian, she may file a petition with the juvenile court. If, pursuant to this subdivision, an unemancipated minor seeks to file a petition, the court shall assist the minor or person designated by the minor in preparing the documents required pursuant to this Section. The petition shall set forth with specificity the minor's reasons for the request. The court shall ensure that the minor's identity be kept confidential and that all court proceedings be sealed. No filing fee shall be required for filing a petition. The unemancipated minor shall appear personally in the proceedings in juvenile court and may appear on her own behalf or with counsel of her own choosing. The court shall, however, advise her that she has a right to court-appointed counsel upon request. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for her. The hearing shall be held by 5 p.m. on the second court day after filing the petition unless extended at the written request of the unemancipated minor, her guardian ad litem, or her counsel. If the guardian ad litem requests an extension, that extension may not be granted for more than one court day without the consent of the unemancipated minor or her counsel. The unemancipated minor shall be notified of the date, time, and place of the hearing on the petition. Judgment shall be entered within one court day of submission of the matter. The judge shall order a record of the evidence to be maintained, including the judge's written factual findings and legal conclusions supporting the decision.
(h) (1) If the judge finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the unemancipated minor is sufficiently mature and well-informed to decide whether to have an abortion, the judge shall authorize a waiver of notice of a parent or guardian.
(2) If the judge finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that notice to a parent or guardian is not in the best interests of the unemancipated minor, the judge shall authorize a waiver of notice. If the finding that notice to a parent or guardian is not in the best interests of the minor is based on evidence of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, the court shall ensure that such evidence is brought to the attention of the appropriate county child protective agency.
(i) If the judge fails to rule within the time period specified in subdivision (g) and no extension was requested and granted, the petition shall be deemed granted and the notice requirement shall be waived.
Under Abby's bullshit letter scenario, "Jill" would have likely been granted an exemption under the second and third exclusions, and Planned Parenthood would have given her a great pamphlet explaining exactly how to do it.