Sunday, September 10, 2006

One step forward, one step back

Well - less than a month ago, I was pleased.

Now we have to stand up - again - and tell them - again - to stop trying to restrict our rights.

"The Oregon Secretary of State’s Office certified that a mandated parental notification measure will be on the November ballot. This is a near replica of the notification measure that Oregonians rejected in 1990. Like that measure, this initiative would change Oregon law to prohibit an older teen who is 15, 16, or 17 year old from seeking abortion care from a medical professional unless a parent receives a mandatory written notification letter at least 48 hours in advance. There are no exceptions for rape and incest and doctors could be sued if the parent doesn’t get the notification letter. Current Oregon law already requires minors 14 years old or younger to obtain parental consent before any treatment."

Measure 43 isn’t written for the real world
Not every child is raised in a stable, healthy household – news reports about abuse and sexual assault from family members confirm this almost every day. Requiring notice to the very people who may be responsible for the assault makes a bad situation worse. Troubled teens at risk need a counselor, or a doctor, not a judge, and not a notice in the mail to the abusive parent.

Measure 43 could drive a troubled teen to put their health in jeopardy
Desperate teens that live in homes filled with abuse or violence could put their lives and health in jeopardy by seeking illegal abortions from unlicensed providers.

Measure 43 is unworkable
If a teen wants to bypass the notification provision, she is required to go through a bureaucratic process run by the Department of Human Services that requires her to plead her case before an administrative law judge, who can take two weeks to reach a decision. Administrative law judges usually deal with permits and license disputes, and aren’t even required to be lawyers.

Measure 43 is not necessary
Oregon’s teen pregnancy rate has declined by 39% over the past ten years as a result of strong prevention and education programs. And surveys have shown that 75% of teens voluntarily consult a parent when faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

So be sure to remember to vote on November 7 - and along with your elected officials - VOTE NO ON MEASURE 43

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