Lies, Damn Lies, and California’s Prop 4

How many of you remember the story of Nayirah,” the 15-year old Kuwaiti girl who shocked a public hearing of Congress’ Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990? She testified that she “saw Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns. They took the babies out of the incubators … and left the children to die on the cold floor.” This “story” was widely reported in the media, reached approximately 35 million people, and helped demonize Iraqis in American public opinion.

Truth was, it is was all bullshit. Made up by PR behemoth Hill & Knowlton who was hired by the Kuwaiti government to generate support for U.S. entry into the first Gulf War.

The young woman was later unmasked as the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador, and Kuwaiti hospital officials interviewed after the Gulf War said no infants had been dumped from incubators.

Truth is always the first casualty of war. And in the war over the right to abortion, teen health and confidentiality, truth is once again the first victim.

This time the battle is being waged in California and the issue is Proposition 4, a ballot measure that would require parents to be notified before an abortion is performed on a woman under the age of 18. Known officially as the “Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy Amendment” it is more commonly referred to by it’s backers as “Sarah’s” Law.

Truth is, there really is no “Sarah.” “Sarah” was actually Jammie Garcia YanezVillegas, who sadly died in Texas in 1994 – her death allegedly caused by an infection contracted during an abortion procedure in a Houston clinic. The backers of Proposition 4 have long claimed that had there been a parental notification law in California “Sarah” would never have died.

Truth is, “Sarah” didn’t live in California. She lived in Texas, and although 15, she was in a common-law marriage and already had one child at home. Texas recognizes common-law marriage and does not view a married 15-year-old as a minor. So, you see, “Sarah” would never have been covered by California’s proposed law.

And once again truth is the first victim of war. Backers of Prop 4 made up an outrageous and shameful lie in order to push an unnecessary and potential harmful law. The PR merchants behind Prop 4 have sacrificed truth in order to fire up the voters. Simply put, Californians have been lied to, and if they have been lied to about who “Sarah” really is, how much of the language of Prop 4 is lies?

A lawsuit co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates and filed Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court asks the secretary of state to remove the girl’s story and other information it deemed misleading, including any reference to “Sarah’s Law,” from the material submitted for the official voter guide.

Backers of the initiative said they learned the details after submitting the ballot argument last month and would review the lawsuit before deciding whether to amend the language for the voter guide. “We will modify the way we present Sarah to be accurate with the information.” But we don’t think the use of her story is marred.”

Yeah, right!

For more information on Proposition 4 and reasons to work for it’s defeat see here.



One Comment

  1. MGG
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    One more lie by the pro-lie movement.


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