By Desiree Perez
By Desiree Perez
If you’re looking for a new way to knock a girl down after she’s been knocked up, I’ve got one for you.
As if dealing with teen pregnancy isn’t hard enough, someone decided to make it even more difficult by drafting Proposition 85. Under the language of Proposition 85, parents or legal guardians of any minor must be notified 48 hours prior to her abortion.
The major claim in support of this proposition is the assertion that mother knows best. If mother knew best, you would think she’d know her daughter was pregnant. The underlying goal of this proposition is to make families discuss these things openly. The closest most of us get to that kind of family relationship are “Leave it to Beaver” reruns.
The truth is that many families don’t have open or safe lines of communication. Not even the passage of Proposition 85 can force families to communicate openly.
Even the people in support of this legislation can’t claim that every parent is going to accept a daughter’s pregnancy. The closest they can come is to say that “almost all respond with love and support.” I doubt even that many would be so kind.
I’m sure there are a lot of families out there who do receive these vulnerable teenagers openly. Unfortunately, not all do or ever will. So for all those young women whose families won’t, you’re just out of luck.
If a girl doesn’t want to have to notify her parents, there is a way out. She can go to court.
It might be difficult for her to sneak into court without her parents knowing; especially if she has school or no personal transportation. And yes, even adults can become confused in California’s hectic and backlogged court system. But hey, at least she won’t have to pay court fees.
If the minor does decide to go to court, she must convince a judge that she is mature and informed enough to control what happens to her own body, or that telling her parents is not in her best interest. Pray that she doesn’t get a pro-life judge, or even an old-fashioned one.
Another major point that supporters of Proposition 85 make is that, even though parents must be notified, they are not required to consent. In reality, unless the pregnant teen can stay away from her parents for 48 hours, she’s probably not going to make it out of her house to her appointment without parental consent.
Not requiring consent is also an attempt to fool voters into thinking that a woman’s right to choose isn’t threatened by this measure. When you look at the big picture, however, you can see that it is.
Proposition 85 is a step backward for women’s rights. It creates new restrictions on a woman’s right to control her own pregnancy. Once the first restriction is created, it makes it easier to enforce more and stricter regulations against abortion.
Obviously Proposition 85 is going to put added pressure on pregnant teens, but don’t forget about the drawbacks to doctors.
Because they can be sued for failing to notify a guardian, doctors are going to be less willing to help a teen terminate an unwanted pregnancy. If the threat of a possible lawsuit doesn’t slow them down, the added paperwork sure will.
Supporters of the proposition claim that the parental notification will help prevent girls from being intimidated into having an abortion. It would be terrible if some young woman was forced or threatened into terminating her pregnancy. That’s probably why doctor’s offices already have laws against that kind of thing.
If confidential legal abortions are no longer an option to underage women, some of them may choose to notify their parents. Others, however, are going to turn to unsafe alternatives.
If Proposition 85 passes, the number of young women ostracized or injured by their family members will increase. The number of girls who are injured or die from back-alley abortions will increase. The number of babies that wind up dead in dumpsters will increase.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why parents would want to be involved in such an important event in their daughter’s life. I don’t know if there is a right way to start that kind of communication, but Proposition 85 is definitely the wrong way. Putting pregnant girls between a rock and a hard place, no matter the reason, is putting them at risk.
Think of your daughters, your sisters, your nieces and your friends. If you are concerned about how they would handle pregnancy, talk to them about it. Tell them about safe sex, contraceptives and abstinence. Don’t pass legislation to force them to talk to you, and hope that they will.