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Catholic Voice
  January 23, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Bishop's Column

Two critical initiatives on Nov. ballot

The number 2012 being divisible by four, this year we will once again be facing a major election. It is imperative we all inform our consciences with the principles of the natural moral law as articulated in Catholic moral and social teaching, and also inform ourselves of the issues and of the candidates’ record on the issues and their character, so we all may then cast a responsible vote in this critical upcoming election. This should also help our people to be active in the political process in such a way as to promote all that contributes to the common good among the myriad of issues affecting human life and dignity and social and economic justice, as is proper to their role and vocation as the lay faithful of the Church.

For more information

California Catholic Conference www.cacatholic.org

SAFE California Ends death penalty www.safecalifornia.org

PNI: Parental Notification Initiative www.caparentalrights.org
It is projected that once again many initiatives will qualify for the ballot in the next election, some of which pertain directly to issues of life and justice. One of these is an effort that should be familiar to us now: parental notification for a minor’s abortion. Yes, we have seen this on the ballot before, and, thankfully, we will likely have a chance to vote on it again.

The parental notification initiative, now in the signature-gathering phase, is always a reminder to us of the schizophrenic state of the law here in California: a doctor or nurse who would give a minor an aspirin without the consent of the minor’s parent is liable to a malpractice lawsuit, but they can perform an abortion on girls as young as 12-years-old without her parents even knowing about it.

The state Legislature has even recently passed a law requiring parental consent for a minor to go into a tanning booth. Which, after all, is the more serious medical intervention?

Who could possibly be opposed to such a reasonable law, especially when state law requires parental consent — not just notification — for the most minor of medical procedures? Only one constituent group possibly could: those who stand to profit from the abortion industry.

Sadly, while parental notification always polls well and is a law that Californians favor, the proponents of this initiative have always been enormously outspent and overwhelmed by the huge financial and political resources of Planned Parenthood and other stakeholders in the abortion industry.

Their campaign strategy has always been the same: paint the worst case scenario of abusive parents (for which the initiative has always taken account by means of a judicial bypass, anyway), and purport this to be a common occurrence.

This is a law that any reasonable person can support, regardless of where they stand on the abortion issue, because it is a question of parental rights. In fact, this should be one of the few laws that can unite people on all sides of the abortion debate.

This election, then, is the time for all of us, once and for all, to take a stand against big abortion and in favor of parents and their daughters. No one should be allowed to wedge their way into this most sacred relationship, let alone those who would profit from such a horrendously life-changing procedure on a vulnerable young girl.

Happily, the rights of parents to be involved in the most serious moral and medical decision their teenage daughter could ever face is not the only justice issue we will likely have a chance to vote on this November.
There is also the likelihood that a ballot proposition to repeal capital punishment will qualify for the next election. We will hear about this effort in the next issue of The Catholic Voice.

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