Monday, November 06, 2006

California Proposition 85

On tomorrow's ballot here in California is Proposition 85, a proposition that has gotten lost in the sea of propositions on this year's ballot. Proposition 85 would require doctors to notify the parent or legal guardian of a pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion involving that minor. It does not require a physician or a minor to obtain the consent of a parent or guardian.

In other words, it's simply allowing parents to know that their child is about to undergo a substantial medical procedure. It's not requiring their consent (which I think would be appropriate).

Here's why I think it makes sense:

In California, a girl under 18 can't get an aspirin from the school nurse without adult consent. She also can't get a flu shot or have her tooth pulled without parental consent. But she can have an abortion and never have her parents notified.

Here are the official argument against Proposition 85, with my comments added in red. I'll leave their usage of all caps, though someone should tell them it's not polite to shout.

They understand that while PARENTS RIGHTFULLY WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THEIR TEENAGERS’ LIVES, in the real world, SOME California TEENAGERS COME FROM HOMES where they can’t talk to their parents, where there is violence, or WHERE A FAMILY MEMBER HAS SEXUALLY ABUSED THEM.

I love the comment about who's living in the "real world." This proposition allows a judge to provide a waiver for the very reasons listed in the above paragraph.

THESE TEENS CAN’T GO TO THEIR PARENTS. They fear being kicked out of their homes, beaten, or worse. Proposition 85 forces these teens to delay critical medical care or turn to self-induced or illegal back-alley abortions. Some will go across the border; some will suffer serious injuries or even consider suicide.


By denying parents the right to know, they are also discouraging proper medical and psychological follow-up after the abortion. In a vast majority of the cases, a 48 hour waiting period will not delay "critical medical care." This loads the argument by assuming that most of these abortions are life or death matters, which they are not.

No law can mandate good family communication. The real answer to teen pregnancy and abortion is strong, caring families and comprehensive sex education, including abstinence. But sadly, not all California teens live in homes with strong, caring families.

So ... how does further eroding the rights of parents to be parents encourage "strong, caring families"?

FORCING A SCARED, PREGNANT TEENAGER who can’t go to her parents INTO CALIFORNIA’S OVERCROWDED COURT SYSTEM WON’T WORK— AND COULD CAUSE TEENS MORE HARM. Courts are already backlogged, there’s a lot of red tape, and they are hard to navigate, even for adults.

This is ironic since liberals have used the courts to enact what they couldn't get passed into law.

Think about it. The teen is scared, pregnant, her family might be abusive. SHE DOESN’T NEED A JUDGE. SHE NEEDS A COUNSELOR AND GOOD MEDICAL CARE—WITHOUT DELAY.
Proposition 85’s new bureaucratic rules WON’T GUARANTEE that parents are notified. Who will sign for the mail? What happens when the mail is delayed, or the parents aren’t home, or the teen intercepts the letter?

Again, this argument goes back to the assumption that the teen is coming from an abusive family. That's a redherring that avoids the real issue of parental rights.

The real answer to teen pregnancy is prevention and caring families—NOT NEW LAWS THAT ENDANGER OUR DAUGHTERS. AND PROPOSITION 85 IS NOT ABOUT PROTECTING TEENS FROM OLDER MEN AND SEXUAL PREDATORS. Clinics already provide counseling about responsible behavior and report illegal activities.

Proposition 85 won’t reduce teen pregnancy rates, can’t force families to communicate, is complicated and unworkable . . . and is not about predators—BUT IT WILL PUT GENERATIONS OF CALIFORNIA’S TEENAGERS AT RISK.

How in the world does this law "endanger our daughters"? Are the authors admitting that their daughters come from abusive homes? While it's true that Proposition 85 cannot force families to communicate, not passing it will prohibit them from communicating!

Other blogs on Proposition 85

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