Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Californians to Vote on Parental Notification Ballot Measure on Nov. 4
From Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California:
Here's the truth behind Prop. 4:
1) It puts teenagers in real danger
A scared pregnant teen who can't go to her parents can feel trapped and desperate. Instead of seeking the counseling and safe medical care she needs, she may choose an unsafe back alley, illegal abortion, go across the border, or even contemplate suicide.
Click here for more information on the ill effects of this measure.
2) Alternate family member notification and judicial bypass are unreasonable
It's deceptive to call this "family notification." Right now a teen can go notify another adult, but Prop 4 would close off that option. Under Prop 4 before a teen could notify another family member, she must first accuse a parent of mistreatment and sign written statement saying she fears physical, sexual, or severe emotional abuse - no matter what her circumstances really are. This would trigger a family investigation by authorities. This so-called notification is nothing more than a form letter sent to another person who may not even live in the same state. There is no requirement for counseling and no requirement that the substitute adult help her when she is in crisis.
Alternatively, a teen could avoid parental notification by appearing before a judge. However, this is unrealistic. If a teen is pregnant, unable to go to her parents, and already desperate, she isn't going to navigate court bureaucracy to reveal the most intimate details of her life to an unfamiliar judge in an impersonal courthouse. She doesn't need a judge; she needs a caring counselor and safe, quality medical care without delay. Proposition 4 provides none of this. See how Prop. 4 would work on a practical level.
3) Prop. 4 is rejected by experts and research
The California Medical Association, the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association, the California School Counselors Association - all major organizations who work with teens every day OPPOSE Prop. 4 because it threatens teen safety. See full list.
In addition, research has shown that laws like Prop. 4 do not work. For instance, a Bixby Center brief highlights the dangerous actions teens are likely to take if parental notification in implemented in California. Click here for other research on laws like Prop 4.