INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE
SUBMITTED DIRECTLY TO VOTERS
The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purposes and points of
the proposed measure:
TITLE AND SUMMARY
Amends California Constitution to prohibit abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent, legal guardian or, if parental abuse reported, an adult family member. Provides exceptions for medical emergency or parental waiver. Permits courts to waive notice based on clear and convincing evidence of minor’s maturity or best interests. Mandates reporting requirements, including reports from physicians regarding abortions on minors. Authorizes monetary damages against physicians for violation. Requires minor’s consent to abortion, with exceptions. Permits judicial relief if minor’s consent is coerced. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potential unknown net state costs of several million dollars annually for health and social services programs, court administration, and state health agency administration combined. (Initiative 07-0053.)
To the Honorable Secretary
of State of California:
We the undersigned,
registered, qualified voters of California, residents of the afore-described
County (or City and County), on the signature page of this petition section,
hereby propose an amendment to the Constitution of the State of California
relating to parental notification and personal consent prior to the performance
of an abortion on a pregnant unemancipated minor, and petition the Secretary of
State to submit the same to the voters of California for their adoption or rejection
at the next succeeding general election or at any special statewide election
held prior to the general election or otherwise provided by law. The proposed
amendment reads as follows:
SECTION 1. Title
shall be known and may be cited as the Child and Teen Safety and Stop Predators
Act: Sarah’s Law.
SECTION 2. Declaration of
Findings and Purposes
The People of California have a compelling interest in
protecting minors from the known risks of secret abortions, including the danger
of not obtaining prompt care for health- and life-threatening complications
when a minor’s parent or responsible family member is unaware that she has
undergone a secret abortion.
The People also have a compelling interest in
preventing sexual predators from using secret abortions to conceal sexual
exploitation of minors.
SECTION 3. Parental
Section 32 of
Article 1 of the California Constitution is added to read:
purposes of this Section, the following terms shall be defined to mean:
(1) “Abortion” means the use of any means to terminate the
pregnancy of an unemancipated minor known to be pregnant except for the purpose
of producing a live birth. “Abortion” shall not include the use of any
contraceptive drug or device.
“Medical emergency" means a condition which, on the basis of the
physician's good-faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition
of a pregnant unemancipated minor as to necessitate the immediate abortion of
her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk
of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.
"Parent" means a person who, at the time notice or waiver is required
under this Section, is either a parent if both parents have legal custody, or
the parent or person having legal custody, or the legal guardian of an
“Adult family member” means a person at least 21 years of age who is the
grandparent, stepparent, foster parent, aunt, uncle, sibling, half-sibling, or first
cousin of an unemancipated minor.
"Notice" means a written notification, signed and dated by a
physician or his or her agent, informing the parent or adult family member of
an unemancipated minor that she is pregnant and has requested an abortion.
"Unemancipated minor" means a female under the age of 18 years who
has not entered into a valid marriage and is not on active duty with the armed
services of the United States and has not received a declaration of
emancipation under state law. For the purposes of this Section, pregnancy does
not emancipate a female under the age of 18 years.
"Physician" means any person authorized under the statutes and
regulations of the State of California to perform an abortion upon an
Article 1, Section 1, or any other provision of this Constitution
or law to the contrary and except in a medical emergency as provided for in
subdivision (f), a physician shall not perform an abortion upon a pregnant
unemancipated minor until at least forty-eight (48) hours has elapsed after the
physician or the physician's agent has delivered written notice to her parent
personally or by mail as provided in subdivision (c); or until the physician or
the physician's agent has received a valid written waiver of notice as provided
in subdivision (d); or until 48 hours after the physician has delivered
written notice to an adult family member and has made a report of known or
suspected child abuse, as provided in subdivision (e); or until the
physician has received a copy of a waiver of notification from the court as
provided in subdivision (h) or (i) or (j).A copy of any notice or waiver
shall be retained with the unemancipated minor's medical records. The physician
or the physician's agent shall inform the unemancipated minor that her parent
may receive notice as provided for in this Section.
(c) The written notice
shall be delivered by the physician or the physician’s agent to the parent, either
personally or by certified mail addressed to the parent at the parent's last
known address with return receipt requested and restricted delivery to the
addressee. If notice is provided by certified mail, a copy of the written
notice shall also be sent at the same time by first class mail to the parent.Notice by mail may be presumed to have been delivered under the provisions of
this subdivision at noon of the second day after the written notice sent by
certified mail was postmarked, not counting any days on which regular mail
delivery does not take place. A form for the notice shall be prescribed by the
Department of Health Services. The notice form shall be bilingual, in English
and Spanish, and also available in English and each of the other languages in
which California Official Voter Information Guides are published.
(d) Notice of an
unemancipated minor’s intent to obtain an abortion may be waived by her
parent. The waiver must be in writing, on a form prescribed by the Department of
Health Services, signed by a parent, dated, and notarized. The parent shall
specify on the form that the waiver is valid for 30 days, or until a specified
date, or until the minor’s eighteenth birthday. The written waiver need not be
notarized if the parent personally delivers it to the physician or the
physician's agent. The form shall include the following statement: "WARNING.
It is a crime to knowingly provide false information to a physician or a
physician's agent for the purpose of inducing a physician or a physician's
agent to believe that a waiver of notice has been provided by a parent or
guardian." The waiver form shall be bilingual, in English and
Spanish, and also available in English and each of the other languages in which
California Official Voter Information Guides are published. For each abortion
performed on an unemancipated minor pursuant to this subdivision, the physician
or the physician’s agent must receive a separate original written waiver that
shall be retained with the unemancipated minor’s medical records.
(e) Notice to a parent shall
not be required under this Section if, at least 48 hours prior to performing
the abortion, the attending physician has delivered notice in the manner
prescribed and on the form prescribed in subdivision (c) to an adult family
member designated by the unemancipated minor and has made a written report of
known or suspected child abuse concerning the unemancipated minor to the
appropriate law enforcement or public child protective agency. Such report
shall be based on a minor’s written statement that she fears physical, sexual,
or severe emotional abuse from a parent who would otherwise be notified and
that her fear is based on a pattern of physical, sexual, or severe emotional
abuse of her exhibited by a parent. The physician shall include the minor’s statement
with his or her report and shall also retain a copy of the statement and the
report in the minor’s medical records. The physician shall also include with
the notice a letter informing the adult family member that a report of known or
suspected child abuse has been made concerning the minor and identifying the
agency to which the report was made. The minor shall be informed that the
notice and the letter will be delivered to the adult family member she has designated.
(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.
(g) Notice shall not be
required under this Section if waived pursuant to this subdivision and
subdivisions (h) or (i) or (j).
If the pregnant unemancipated minor elects not
to permit notice to be given to a parent, she may file a petition with the
juvenile court.No filing fee shall be required for filing a petition. 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
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 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 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. The court shall ensure that the minor's identity be kept
confidential and that all court proceedings be sealed.
(h) (1) If the judge
finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the unemancipated minor is both
sufficiently mature and well-informed to decide whether to have an abortion,
the judge shall authorize a waiver of notice of a parent.
If the judge finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that notice to
a parent 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 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 law enforcement or public child
If the judge does not make a finding specified in subdivision (h)(1) or (h)(2),
the judge shall deny the petition.
(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.
(j) The unemancipated
minor may appeal the judgment of the juvenile court at any time after the entry
of judgment.The Judicial Council shall prescribe, by rule, the practice and
procedure on appeal and the time and manner in which any record on appeal shall
be prepared and filed and may prescribe forms for such proceedings. These
procedures shall require that the hearing shall be held within three court days
of filing the notice of appeal. The unemancipated minor shall be
notified of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The
appellate court shall ensure that the unemancipated minor's identity be kept
confidential and that all court proceedings be sealed. No filing fee shall be
required for filing an appeal. Judgment on appeal shall be
entered within one court day of submission of the matter.
(k) The Judicial Council
shall prescribe, by rule, the practice and procedure for petitions for waiver
of parental notification, hearings, and entry of judgment as it deems necessary
and may prescribe forms for such proceedings. Each court shall provide
annually to the Judicial Council, in a manner to be prescribed by the Judicial
Council to ensure confidentiality of the unemancipated minors filing petitions,
a report of the number of petitions filed, the number of petitions granted
under subdivisions (h)(1) or (h)(2), deemed granted under
subdivision (i), denied under subdivision (h)(3), and granted or denied under
subdivision (j), said reports to be publicly available unless the Judicial
Council determines that the data contained in individual reports should be
aggregated by county before being made available to the public in order to
preserve the confidentiality of the unemancipated minors filing petitions.
(m)The physician who
performs an abortion on an unemancipated minor shall within one month file a
dated and signed report concerning that abortion with the Department of Health
Services on forms prescribed pursuant to subdivision (l). The identity of the
physician shall be kept confidential and shall not be subject to
disclosure under the California Public Records Act.
(o) Any person who
performs an abortion on an unemancipated minor and in so doing knowingly or
negligently fails to comply with the provisions of this Section shall be liable
for damages in a civil action brought by the unemancipated minor, her legal
representative, or by a parent wrongfully denied notification.
The time for commencement of the action shall be within four years of the date
the minor attains majority or four years of the date a parent wrongfully denied
notification discovers or reasonably should have discovered the failure to
comply with this Section, whichever
period expires later. A person shall not be liable under this
Section if the person establishes by written or documentary
evidence that the person relied upon evidence sufficient to convince a careful
and prudent person that the representations of the unemancipated minor or other
persons regarding information necessary to comply with this Section were bona
fide and true. At any time prior to the rendering of a final judgment in an
action brought under this subdivision, the plaintiff
may elect to recover, in lieu of actual damages, an award of statutory damages
in the amount of $10,000. In addition to any damages awarded under this
subdivision, the plaintiff shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorney
fees. Nothing in this Section shall abrogate, limit, or restrict the common
law rights of parents, or any right to relief under any theory of liability
that any person or any state or local agency may have under any statute or
common law for any injury or damage, including any legal, equitable, or
administrative remedy under federal or state law, against any party, with
respect to injury to an unemancipated minor from an abortion.
(p) Other than an
unemancipated minor who is the patient of a physician, or other than the
physician or the physician's agent, any person who knowingly provides false
information to a physician or a physician's agent for the purpose of inducing
the physician or the physician's agent to believe that pursuant to this Section
notice has been or will be delivered to a parent or adult family member, or
that a waiver of notice has been obtained, or that an unemancipated minor
patient is not an unemancipated minor, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by
a fine of up to $2,000.
(q) Notwithstanding any
notice or waivers of notice, except where the particular circumstances of a
medical emergency or her own mental incapacity precludes obtaining her consent,
a physician shall not perform or induce an abortion upon an unemancipated minor
except with the consent of the unemancipated minor herself.
(r) Notwithstanding any notice
or waivers of notice, an unemancipated minor who is being coerced by any person
through force, threat of force, or threatened or actual deprivation of food or
shelter to consent to undergo an abortion may apply to the juvenile court for
The court shall give the matter expedited consideration and grant such
relief as may be necessary to prevent such coercion.
Section shall not take effect until 90 days after the election in which it is
The Judicial Council shall, within these 90 days, prescribe the
rules, practices, and procedures and prepare and make available any forms it
may prescribe as provided in subdivision (k). The Department of Health
Services shall, within these 90 days, prepare and make available the forms prescribed
in subdivisions (c), (d), and (l).
(t) If any one or more
provision, subdivision, sentence, clause, phrase or word of this Section or the
application thereof to any person or circumstance is found to be
unconstitutional or invalid, the same is hereby declared to be severable and
the balance of this Section shall remain effective notwithstanding such
unconstitutionality or invalidity. Each provision, subdivision, sentence,
clause, phrase or word of this Section would have been approved by voters
irrespective of the fact that any one or more provision, subdivision, sentence,
clause, phrase, or word might be declared unconstitutional or invalid.
(u) Except for the
rights, duties, privileges, conditions, and limitations specifically provided
for in this Section, nothing in this Section shall be construed to grant,
secure, or deny any other rights, duties, privileges, conditions, and
limitations relating to abortion or the funding thereof.