I said earlier in my quickie voter’s guide that I wanted to direct special attention at Proposition 85, also known as “The Parents’ Right to Know and Child Protection Initiative.” I am firmly opposed to this measure and you should be too, whether you own a vagina, use one, have children, hate children, get abortions for breakfast every Sunday, or not. Proposition 85 is wrong on so many levels that I have a hard time believing anyone could seriously vote for it.
To begin with, Proposition 85 concerns abortion activists because it undermines the ability of young women to make independent, informed choices. If 85 passes, it will open the doorway to other legislation which may restrict the rights of emancipated adults to abortions as well. While people who are opposed to abortion might support the bill, arguing that it will limit the accessibility of abortions for one sector of the population, people concerned about the health of teenage girls should vote against it. Making abortions difficult to get does not make them less frequent, or safer. In fact, it increases the probability of a dangerous and potentially deadly decision.
As an activist for youth rights, 85 troubles me because it treats young women like property. Indeed, part of the bill allows for lawsuits against abortion providers brought to court by parents, not the young women who might actually be involved. While minors have minimal rights in this country, it seems like they ought to be able to exercise some control over their own bodies, and make their own choices. The idea that young women would have to wait 48 hours after making the agonizing decision to abort a child to follow through with the procedure is horrifying.
And what if the parents can’t be located? Is the young woman supposed to take a suit to court pleading for access to an abortion? What about conservative parents who may pose a threat to the personal safety of their daughters? While all parents strive to be involved in the lives of their children, forcing involvement through legislation is not a good solution. I disagree profoundly with the idea that parents have a “right” to know everything about the lives of their children.
A duty or responsibility, perhaps, yes. Parents ought to be involved in the lives of their children, and ought to establish open relationships from an early age to encourage their children to frankly express themselves. By building a better relationship with their children, parents can assure themselves that they will be involved in the choices the young adults they are raising will make, and that the viewpoints and opinions of the parents will be disrespected.
Unfortunately, a large number of parents don’t seem to understand the responsibility that comes with parenting. There seems to be an automatic assumption that children are property, and will do as their owner says. Proposition 85 feeds into that belief while assuring flighty conservatives that evil planned parenthood abortionists won’t torment their innocent children.
Newsflash, stupid parents: restricting your child’s access to a safe and legal abortion will encourage her to seek on an unsafe, illegal one. If it’s a choice between confronting conservative parents with a baby, getting a legal abortion and dealing with the fallout, or getting a secret abortion, the choice might seem obvious to a confused young woman. Before abortions were legalized in the United States, women died from illegal abortions. Frequently. They didn’t have access to safe conditions for their abortions, and were afraid to seek medical attention for complications. The result was tragedy, and will be again for California’s teenage girls.
Millions of dollars have been spent this year in attempts to support Proposition 85, since a similar measure failed last year. Clearly, conservative groups fear that anyone in their right mind will not vote for the Proposition, although it failed by a distrubingly narrow margin last year.
Do the right thing for the young women in your life, and to protect abortion rights for all Californians: vote no on 85. Even if you are ethically opposed to abortion, you should vote no, because 85 will not stop abortions from happening—and it might take the life of the mother as well as the child. If you don’t have children, protect your right to continue not having children, and support access to abortions for all. If you have children, vote no on 85 because you support building real, meaningful relationships with your children, not using the law to force your children to confession. If you have sex, ever, vote no on 85.
Defeat stupid legislature: there’s already too damn much of it.
And VOTE, please, on Tuesday.