Yesterday I provided an update on anti-choice ballot initiative Measure 11 in South Dakota — today it’s time for an update on anti-choice ballot initiative Prop 4 in California. Prop 4, a piece of legislation which will appear on the ballot for the third time in four years, would instate a parental notification requirement for minors seeking an abortion. This is dangerous legislation, which would violate the rights, health and safety of teens if it were to be passed — teens like Becky Bell.
Below is No on Prop 4‘s latest ad, pointing out the reality of illegal abortions sought by teens too afraid to tell their parents, whether because they’re in an abusive situation or simply terrified of a reaction:
Kathy Kneer from Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California explained concisely in an email to me the huge flaws in the initiative’s so-called “bypass procedure”:
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.
At least 37 newspapers have rightfully come out in opposition to Prop 4. But No on Prop 4 still desperately needs your help. A new poll shows that there is currently a statistical tie among voters — with 46% saying they’ll vote Yes, and 44% saying they’ll vote NO.
That’s way too close exactly one week out from Election Day. If you’re in California, please do what you can — and the first step is to Vote No on this dangerous initiative. Sign up to volunteer now, or view list of volunteer events. Also, please donate what you can. The lives, health and safety of teen girls are on the line.