Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Albuquerque, NM: Notes on CA Prop 4

Greetings from Albuquerque!

One thing I've noticed each time I leave the Land of Heathens for the Land of Enchantment (or the Land of Entrapment as my coworker calls it, har har!) is the ubiquity of the conservative/anti-choice movement in this part of the country. Multiple "pro-life" billboards greet drivers on I-25 and I spotted several bumper stickers with similar messaging in the UNMH lot today. Tonight, as I enjoy the luxury of watching TV until my eyes bleed, several iterations of this anti-Obama commercial have run over the past two hours:

I wish I could look forward to escaping back to California (ohmygawdicantbelieveiliveincalifornia whatthefuck) where the boarders of our blue state keep right-wing propaganda at bay.


This November Proposition 4, officially the "Child and Teen Safety and Stop Predators Act," will appear on the California ballot. If Prop 4 passes, the law would require doctors to notify a parent or guardian 48 hours before providing an abortion to a minor. The only way around this would be for the teen to seek a judiciary bypass or write a letter to her physician stating parental abuse and get the consent from another same sex family member. Sadly, this is the third time since 2005 that this type of proposal has made it onto the ballot in CA.

Proponents of the act
claim that it will strengthen families by allowing parents to take a part in the teen's decision and alerting them to the their daughter's sexual activity. Supporters also say that the abortions will be safer because the parent can provide a more complete medical history of the teen.

The reality is that this act, in its efforts to chip away at abortion rights, puts teen girls in danger. A pregnant teen shouldn't be forced to tell her parents about the abortion for the very reasons she couldn't tell them in the first place. The exceptions that would allow her to get around this mandate are cumbersome and delay the time-sensitive situation. Pregnant teens shouldn't have to navigate the legal system on their own to request permission from a judge. An abortion is a personal matter. Young women deserve confidentiality and the right to make decisions about their bodies.

I am lucky that I and women I care about have had access to safe and confidential abortions. It is heartbreaking to imagine that access to this right could be taken from our young sisters in California. I urge everyone to learn more about why so many people are fighting Prop 4 and VOTE NO on this measure - please!

PS: Since I started writing this post, the "pro-life" commercial has aired again. Ironically, it framed this breaking local scandal on the 11 o'clock news (!)