Found this via Pewsitter at the California Chronicle. Looks like the horse has already left the barn. I copied the article in it's entirety in order that it not disappear down some editorial black hole, as is the case with so many news sites.
School-assisted abortions in California for minors, it's legal and there is no parental notification
If you are a parent with boys, exhale a sigh of relief. If you are the parent of a minor daughter, you might need a whole new education on public education. It is a fact: your minor daughter has the right to an abortion in California, without your consent or notification. You may remember California Propositions 73 and 85 on the ballot which would have required parental notification of a minor's abortion, but it was defeated by 54.3 percent to 45.7 percent. How did this law bypassing parental consent come to be? In California, the operative case that reaches beyond Roe v. Wade, is a California case upheld by the Supreme Court, American Academy of Pediatrics v. Lundren. This case argued that the California Constitution should not be changed to include parental notification and that a minor's right to choose with regard to a pregnancy was the same as an adult.
Whether or not your personal beliefs are pro-choice or pro-life, many parents agree that parental notification of any medical treatment or procedure should be the responsibility and the right of the parent and not the government. If you think about it, students cannot even take an aspirin at school without parental consent. Yes, I said the word "student," that's because, believe it or not, minor students are entitled to the assistance of the school to execute an abortion, whereby purposefully bypassing the parents. It's hard to believe that even truancy laws are legally waved so that a minor can exercise her right to an abortion.
California law, backed by many liberal interest groups, quite literally provide a safe haven for teens to make the difficult choice to end a pregnancy without any consequence which ranges from parental disappointment to school absence. But what are the consequences? First of all, the emotional consequence. Does the government believe that teenage girls might not have the lasting emotional affect of this difficult decision? What about the minor's support system, her family? Because of this "pass card," my belief is that the teen is assured to never tell her parents of the traumatic experience because not only did she have an abortion but she did it without the input of her family, adding another layer of anguish. Some psychologists might argue that this is a decision that needs to be weighed far more carefully than the government might take for granted. What about pre-existing conditions? If a teen is pregnant and sees an easy way out by seeking a school-assisted abortion, it's not likely that she will reveal an interfering medical history even if she could fully understand it. In fact, the World Health Organization states that in order to have a "safe abortion" a full medical history and screening is required to identify pre-existing conditions such as bleeding disorders, immune disorders, allergies and medications. What about the rights of the father? I guess that does not count at all.
On a more practical level, if the state does not consider a minor mature enough to vote, how does it expect a minor to make such a consequential decision such as having an abortion on her own? Where do you draw the line of maturity, is it individual or is it age? I guess that only matters if you suddenly find yourself pregnant.
If you look to the history of this legal right, you will find that liberal interest groups such as the ACLU are the driving force behind this. The ACLU states that they "have worked hard to secure this right," as stated in their pamphlet to minors and public educators. The ACLU further assures that it "continues to use litigation, legislative advocacy, public education, and grassroots organizing to protect the rights" of abortion for all. Planned Parenthood boasts to minors that they will help them even "If you are not able to tell your parent or guardian about your decision to have an abortion."
Why the push to have minors' rights protected in regard to pregnancy? Many people who I have spoken to, mostly health care professionals, state that the rate of abuse by parents directed at the minor increases with the emotional prospect of a teen pregnancy. In some cases, parents might force a minor to keep a child against the teen's wishes. Some families might disown their minor daughter. These all seem like plausible side affects of a teen pregnancy; so many emotions are raw. But perhaps that is the very reason why this decision is so important and should be thought through carefully between the minor and her family. I tend to believe that most parents would handle this situation with a level head once the initial shock subsides. Should reasonable parents be in the dark, making it impossible to be supportive of their daughter in the face of this punitive legal remedy?
I spoke with a local high school counselor about this very topic. I agreed not to use his name. The process works as follows: a teen makes an appointment with a school counselor and tells the counselor that she is pregnant. The minor is immediately given a pamphlet outlining her rights in this regard. The counselor assures her that nobody will be notified of the abortion and the counselor makes the arrangements, including transportation. The counselor further excuses the absence from school without any notice to the parents, as if the student had been in class the entire day. I asked how many abortions each year on average? His reply, "This is an affluent community and teens are not eager to ruin their parents' dreams for them with an unwanted pregnancy. So, our statistics are possibly higher than those of other areas where teens might keep the baby. We are looking at about 40-45 average every year."
As I look around my son's high school, I wonder which 40 girls are facing this lonely secret without the support or help of her family. I am saddened by it. But my sadness is tempered by a measured outrage. This seems so unnatural. I did not believe that this legal remedy was possible, seeing as my son can't be administered bactine for a cut at school.
Once I did some checking, I saw it for myself, in black-and-white:
Cal. Health & Safety Code Sec 123450 states that, "An unemancipated minor may obtain an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian"
Cal. Educ. Code Section 46010.1, states that, "The governing board of each school district shall, each academic year, notify pupils in grades 7 to 12, and the parents or guardians of all pupils enrolled in the district, that school authorities may excuse any pupil from school for the purpose of obtaining confidential medical services without the consent of the pupil's parent or guardian."
66 Ops.Atty.Gen. 244 (7-28-83) states that, "Public school officials have the authority to excuse a pupil from regularly scheduled classes to obtain medical services for which they may legally consent, including abortion, without notification to a parent of guardian.
In the case of American Academy of Pediatrics v. Lungren, the supporting case law, states that the state "authorize(s) minors to consent to what are considered to be particularly sensitive medical services. (See Fam. Code, §§ 6920-6929)." And that, "A minor of any age may consent to care related to the prevention or treatment of pregnancy. (Fam. Code, § 6925.)"
For whatever anecdotal evidence is worth, I can't count the number of times I'd attend an AA meeting and hear some woman sob out how she'd had an abortion in her youth and it haunted her to the present day. With policies like this in place it's a certainty there will be many more such scenarios in coming years.