Thursday, October 26, 2006

No on 85

No on Prop 85

There's a bunch of political stuff that I will be blogging about over the next few days so here's installment #1.

In California, we have an initiative process where anyone with enough money can get a proposition put onto the ballot. Then all it takes is spin and advertising and it becomes law. Doesn't that sound great? (I'll be blogging about that in the next few days).

Last year we had prop 73 which would have required parental notification before a teenage girl could have an abortion. It was defeated. So this year we have prop 85... and it is the same thing.

So why would I urge you to vote "no" on a law that would require parents to be notified before a teenage girl could have an abortion? After all, she needs permission before she can get an aspirin at school, right? In the best of all possible worlds, no teenage girl would get pregnant and abortion would be a non-issue. In the next best of all worlds, if a girl did get pregnant, she would go to a wonderful supportive family who would help her through a very complicated and difficult time. We don't live in the best or the next best of all worlds. Some teenage girls get pregnant by a relative, even their fathers. Some live in abusive households and fear for their lives daily. Some have parents who could not care less. To require these vulnerable girls to go to their parents before having a procedure is unconscionable.

Some picture a 12 year old sitting alone in a doctor's office, scared, being pushed into a decision she does not want to make. Others picture untold numbers of girls seeing this as an easy out for them to have unprotected sex and then have abortions with no consequences. Neither picture is accurate. The statistics show that 70% of teenagers who get pregnant tell their parents and make a decision with them. Of the 30% who do not... well there is a reason for not telling and at least some of them are very good reasons. If those girls go to Planned Parenthood, they receive extensive counseling and opportunities to connect with supportive and caring adults who are not there to push them to have an abortion but who are trying to help them make decisions that are the best for them. As for 12 year olds, I was told that our local PP, which covers 3 counties - Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis - only had 3 abortions in the past year with clients 14 or under.

Those who argue for the proposition say that there is a legal remedy for girls who cannot tell their families. The question then is what scared teenager who has just learned she is pregnant to an abusive father is going to have the savvy to go through a complicated legal process? More likely, she would do something like the teenager did last year who asked her boyfriend to hit her in the belly with a baseball bat to try to induce an abortion.

What this issue really is about is keeping the most vulnerable of girls safe in extremely difficult times. Vote "no" on prop 85

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