Debra J. Saunders

The logic doesn't work. By definition, minors who get pregnant are less mature than those who do not -- in general, they belong to the subset of teens who have sex but don't use birth control at all or correctly, as opposed to teens who either use birth control consistently or abstain from having sex. So it doesn't make sense to have laws, like those in California, that give the least responsible teens more rights than are accorded a responsible teen who wants a tattoo.

 Still, I seriously considered voting against Proposition 73, a constitutional amendment that would require parental notification or a judge's waiver before a minor has an abortion.

 I would not support an initiative that made a pregnant teen carry an unwanted child. Proposition 73 does not require parental consent. An earlier law requiring parental consent was overturned by the California Supreme Court, thus this measure requires only that doctors notify a parent of a pending abortion, without requiring parental consent, unless a judge grants a waiver.

 As it is, countless teens are having sex without parental knowledge or consent. That's why we don't want laws that would deny minors access to birth control -- and Proposition 73 explicitly states that it would not apply to "any contraceptive drug or device."

 The pivotal question is: Should California law be based on families in which parents are abusive, or should it address the majority of parents who are responsible and only want what is best for their children? I have to come down on the side of the majority of good parents, especially when the judicial bypass exists for daughters of abusive parents.

 Why wouldn't a parent vote for this measure? Becky Morgan, a former GOP state senator and mother of an obstetrician-gynecologist, told me she will vote "no" because of teens who don't have the type of relationship that makes them feel they can tell their parents. Morgan is a founder of Planned Parenthood's Teen Success program -- which helps teenage mothers stay in school without getting pregnant again -- and has seen "mothering teenagers who have been kicked out of their homes." These are girls who cannot go to a parent.

  "I will always remember the teenager who said, 'My father gave my boyfriend a key to the house, and when I got pregnant, he threw me out,'" Morgan noted.

  I'm with Morgan on that: I don't want laws that would result in a pregnant teen getting thrown out of the house. That's why the judicial bypass is so important.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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