This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 4, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, California voters will decide in next Tuesday's election whether to amend the state constitution to require doctors to tell parents if a pregnant minor is seeking an abortion.
Supporters of Proposition 73 say the measure will reduce teen abortion rates. Opponents fear it will put teen girls at risk for getting the procedure underground.
Joining us from Los Angeles, Maria Elena Kennedy, a reporter for La Cruz California, a monthly Latino newspaper, and Dawn Wilcox, spokesperson for a public education program called Get Real About Teen Pregnancy.
Ms. Wilcox, let me begin with you. You say that the simple act of notifying parents about a teen's pregnancy will harm the teens. How?
DAWN WILCOX, OPPONENT OF TEEN ABORTION NOTIFICATION INITIATIVE: I wish it was that simple. But unfortunately, there are situations where a minor comes from an abusive home, or they may even become impregnated by a family member. And in those instances, we need to make sure that they get safe, confidential treatment and care as quickly as possible.
SNOW: Well, let me ask you. The flip side of that argument is that the confidentiality with which abortions are obtainable actually enable rapists to get away it. As a matter of fact, that's what you're actually saying, is that in a case like this, the rapist, whether it's a father or an abuser, needs to get away with it because the abortion's more important.
WILCOX: In California, we have very tough mandated reporter laws, which require that medical practioners and doctors report abuse, suspected or reported by the minor. So those laws are in place.
Our concern is that if a teenager is faced with an unintended pregnancy, and they can't involve their parents, that instead of seeking care, they may try to take matters into their own hands or not seek care at all.
SNOW: Ms. Kennedy, how worried are you about this? Are you not concerned that teens, if this law goes into effect, are going to say, can't tell mom and dad. Maybe I'll go someplace else?
MARIA ELENA KENNEDY, PROPONENT OF TEEN ABORTION NOTIFICATION INITIATIVE: Well, of course I'm concerned. That's why we made sure we have a judicial bypass in the initiative. The clinics are well-funded. They're set up to be able to shepherd these girls through the judicial system. So I don't see why that is such a concern.
SNOW: OK, let me explain here. When you talk about a judicial bypass, it means that the girl could go to a judge and say, look, I've got a terrible situation here. I can't tell my parents. Here's why. You take care of it. And the judge, therefore, is empowered to do it. My question is, how would a teen know to take advantage of the judicial bypass?
KENNEDY: Well, given the fact that there's an economic interest in getting and providing abortion services, I'm sure providers will have resources to help the girl maneuver the judicial system.
I mean, I'm sure a guardian ad litum would be appointed. That happens right now if the teen is involved in a civil action. And there would be adults who would be able to help her to get the waiver.
KENNEDY: We thought about that long and hard.
SNOW: Ms. Wilcox, as you know, if a teenage girl wants to get an aspirin at school, wants any kind of minor medical treatment, whammo, they got to call mom and dad. They got to call mom and dad because of malpractice laws and so on.
Now you're talking about something like pregnancy, which parents ought to know. But look, I'm a father. I've got two daughters. If something like this were to happen, I would want to know.
Why on earth is it legal to say you got to get parental consent for an aspirin, but not to get parental consent for something that, yes, can be dangerous even if performed legally, and that's an abortion?
WILCOX: In the case of an aspirin, though, if a teenager wants to get an aspirin and they want to bypass the parental involvement system, the worst that might happen is they go to a drugstore and buy it themselves.
In the case of an unintended pregnancy, if there are barriers put in their way, if there are barriers to their access to confidential care, you know, the reality is.
WILCOX: .is that some teenagers may involve their parents but some may not.
SNOW: All right, you just answered a question I did not ask. Let me ask the question again. You have to notify parents of aspirins. You don't have to do it with abortions. I'm more concerned right now about the standpoint of the parents. We'll get to this bypass stuff in a minute. Why on earth should parents be frozen out?
WILCOX: Parents do want to be involved. But at the end of the day, if they have to decide between their right to know and their daughter's safety, many of them do choose their daughter's safety.
SNOW: Well, wait a minute, whoa, whoa, whoa.
WILCOX: In the case of an aspirin, that is not a time-sensitive issue.
SNOW: You've just said then that if they find out about it, they're going to say, oh, darling, you go ahead and get it. I mean, it seems to me that what you set up is kind of a false difference here in the sense that you say the parents are worried about their safety. Well, if that's the case, then why not notify them?
WILCOX: But in the situation of an aspirin or a - you know, a trip to the tanning salon or any of these other arguments, those are not time sensitive issues that might put a teen's life at risk, if they feel like they can't follow the process all the way through.
In relation to an unintended pregnancy, we do know that many teens involve their parents. But unfortunately, there are situations where maybe they don't even live with their parents. Maybe they come from an abusive situation.
By notifying, by having the physician notify the parents, that may cause the teen to not go to anyone for care.
SNOW: OK. Ms. Kennedy, let me go back to you. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would want to kill somebody if they tried to do this without his daughter's knowledge. But I mean, without his knowledge.
But let me get back to you. The point here, the strongest argument Ms. Wilcox seems to make is that she is worried that these young teens -- regardless of the judicial bypass -- are going to run off and they're going to find some doctor who is going to do it. And they're going to get their health harmed.
To your knowledge, do you think that abortion clinics would allow that sort of thing to happen in California? And are you worried about teenagers just going off to anybody who offers that kind of service?
KENNEDY: Well, I'm not really concerned about that, because there are so many abortion providers in the state of California that oftentimes the girl will be able to shop around. On our Web site, we have audiotapes of abortion clinic personnel.
KENNEDY: .advising the young women they cannot -- that they will not notify their parents, that they.
SNOW: All right, Ms. Kennedy, Ms. Wilcox, we've got to go. Thanks for joining us.
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