No Props to you, Schwarzenegger — or Libby

arnold above the waist.jpg In all the distracting-from-PlameGate debate over Justice Alito (“of course he’s against abortion!” says his mother), I have been surprised that there’s been so little attention paid to what’s going on in California: Schwarzenegger‘s special election next Tuesday, November 8th.

The election is the Governator’s $50 million bid to pass a number of propositions. Specifically, those numbers are Propositions 73 – 80, and could conceivably have been put on the table during his bid for re&#235lection* in 2006, except that they weren’t, because they are much more useful to him if they pass now. Why? Because they include curtailing the political activism of unionized employees, Tom DeLay-style redistricting, and granting the Governator the ability to slash funding willy-nilly, which is unacceptable no matter how funny that phrase would sound in his goofy Austrian accent.

And then there is Prop 73: which would require doctors to notify parents or guardians before girls 17 and younger could get abortions. Which definitely sounds like a good idea in a perfect world, except that’s one world we’re in no danger of inhabiting. This prop, which is currently trailing but nonetheless polling pretty closely in CA thus far, has a whole host of imperfect world problems. Supporters say it’s “about parents’ rights” but it is more about the witholding of same from minors(parental consent withheld for a whole host of disquieting reasons; desperate girls seeking more dangerous alternatives). Never mind that it’s a backdoor limitation on abortion in general, as Salon “Broadsheet” contributor Lynn Harris points out: “Teens are a particularly tempting target: Laws that purport to look out for them are an easy sell. Also, teens don’t vote.”

So. I say this not to jump on a soapbox, though of course my views on this are easily divined. My point is that no one has been talking about this! My God! Huge abortion restrictions — never mind the rollback of other rights — on deck in a major state like California and no one’s talking about it? I’ve been watching this issue, tipped off to it by a Californian activist friend, and have been shocked not to see it get any play, especially on HuffPo, where so many contributors are LA based (first post I saw on it was yesterday’s by Paul Krassner).

But then again, what has HuffPo been distracted by? What have all of us been distracted by? Libby, Cheney, Miller, Keller, PlameGate, Fitzgerald, and Bush — and of course Alito, and what he might mean for Roe v. Wade. Just think of the raging debate that this country would be having on a slow news day. For God’s sake, California Dem. Senator Barbara Boxer was on Jon Stewart a few days ago, and what do you think came up? The Senate closed-door dust-up, and Libby (and her book). Not a whisper about a huge election pending in her own state. Now that’s a news blackout.

Everyone knew that Bush was going to try to push Libby off the front pages with a SCOTUS nom — and he did — and it still worked. It’s just interesting to take a step back and see what’s not being talked about. Also, I’ll take any excuse to use that Schwarzenegger graphic. As trawlers of the internet may know, it’s cropped for a reason.

Calif. Prop. 73 could 86 teen girls’ health and safety [Broadsheet]
Abortion Opponents Hope to Limit Access [WaPo]
Reproductive Rights Under Assault [HuffPo]

*We’re so New Yorker.