Protecting Teen Safety by Opposing Dangerous Mandated Notification Laws
Three times in the past four years California voters have been faced with ballot initiatives to determine whether the state should mandate parental notification prior to a minor terminating a pregnancy. Incredibly, the proponents of this dangerous initiative have ignored the voters and filed a fourth initiative. We must say no, No, NO, and NO AGAIN!
How are Mandated Notification Laws Harmful to Teens?
Parents rightfully want to be involved in their teenagers' lives, and the good news is that most teens do go to their parents when faced with an unintended pregnancy. But in the real world, parental notification laws don't work – no law can mandate family communication.
A scared pregnant teen who can't tell her parents isn't going to navigate a crowded court system and reveal intimate details about her life to an unfamiliar judge. In states with mandated notification and judicial bypass exceptions, the obstacles facing the teen are nearly insurmountable and force them to take matters into their own hands.
A scared pregnant teen doesn't need a judge; she needs a caring counselor and safe, quality medical care, without delay.
Watch previous "Protect Teen Safety" Campaign TV Spots:
Campaign for Teen Safety
The Campaign for Teen Safety, a broad coalition of doctors, nurses, teachers, school counselors, labor, clergy, and civil rights organizations and thousands of parents were able to educate voters about these dangerous and deceptive initiatives.
- In 2008, voters defeated Prop 4 with 52.6% No and 47.4% Yes.
- In 2006, voters defeated Prop 85 with 54.2% No and 45.8% Yes.
- In 2005, voters defeated Prop 73 with 52.8% No and 47.2% Yes.
Parents are the primary educators when it comes to teaching their sons and daughters about responsible sexual relationships. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, "Teens who are close to their parents and feel supported by them are more likely to abstain from sex, wait until they are older to begin having sex, have fewer sexual partners, and use contraception more consistently."
The best way to protect teens is to begin talking about responsible and appropriate sexual behavior from the time they are young and to foster an atmosphere that assures teens that they can always come to us if they have a problem.
Family Communication Resources
When parental notification laws have been enacted in other states, the result has been teens postpone care until the second trimester, which is a more complex procedure.
- Guttmacher Institute, "Minors' Behavioral Responses to Parental Involvement Laws: Delaying Abortion Until Age 18" June 2009
This Bixby Center brief defines what California can learn from other states in the area of mandated parental notification and consent laws. Nationwide research is compared to California showing that California leads the nation with a higher rate of parental communication about sexual activity and a steeper decline in adolescent pregnancy, birth and abortion rates. The brief also draws conclusions about the dangerous actions teens are likely to take if parental notification were implemented in California.
- Bixby Center for Reproductive Health Research & Policy, University of California, San Francisco "Adolescents & Parental Notification for Abortion" Sept 2008
In this Public Health Institute Policy Review, the Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development outlines the implications of mandated parental notification laws.
- Public Health Institute, Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development, "No Time for Complacency – Policy Review" Fall 2008
The California Adolescent Health Collaborative put together a brief outlining how mandated parental notification laws create barriers to time-sensitive health care.
- California Adolescent Health Collaborative, "Barriers to Care: Implications of Required Parental Involvement for California Minors Seeking Abortions" 2008
In this statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirms its position that the rights of adolescents to confidential care when considering abortion should be protected. The statement presents a summary of pertinent current information related to the benefits and risks of legislation requiring mandatory parental involvement in an adolescent's decision to obtain an abortion.
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence, PEDIATRICS Vol 97 No. 5 May 1996 “The Adolescent's Right to Confidential Care When Considering Abortion” May 1996