This post is cross-posted on BlogHer.
I've been happily sexually active since I was 16. (Actually, I was more sexually active then than I am now, sadly enough, but that's another whole post.) Had I become pregnant before I turned 18 there would have been not one doubt in my mind about getting an abortion, and there would have been absolutely no way in the universe that I would have told my parents.
I would have been afraid that they would have made me have the baby, and even if that wasn't the case, once they know, they know. You can't exactly feel that one out. Better to do what you, the pregnant person, want to do and leave them out of it.
My opinion? Once nature's decided you can conceive, then nature has deigned you able to decide what to do about the pregnancy.
Now, I had a lot of advantages. I was smart enough to get an abortion even if I'd had to circumvent this law or that - and believe me, if I'd needed to, I would have done anything before I talked to my parents. I also could have gotten together the necessary funds. There would have been drama, and maybe the repercussions of disappearing for a few days, but I'm pretty sure I could have pulled it off.
Would I have chosen a risky abortion over telling my parents I was pregnant? You betcha!
And I'm grown up now, and I stand by that opinion to this day. Sometimes the risky choice is the right choice.
Meanwhile, I literally can not imagine what it would be like to be a teen without resources to travel or circumvent the laws, or a teen without as much education to understand how to manage the system, or even worse, a teen who's being molested and abused by a family member - and to then have the government get between me and my doctor and say that I have to tell my parents I'm pregnant! To not be able to trust your doctor to keep your medical information private! What a nightmare.
And those bypass provisions? They are the worst! If I'd gotten pregnant in high school, I would have wanted to get an abortion as promptly as possible - I can't imagine having to go defend my personal decisions to a judge, thereby ensuring a later abortion, if any. I mean, it's painfully absurd to consider that girls in some states have to do this. Somehow I suspect that you can't just tell some judges you'd like to have an abortion because you have no interest in having a child right now.
Which brings me to California's Prop 4, and yet another reason to vote NO NO NO on parental notification. Under the new provision, if the teen chooses to go to another adult, her parents would be automatically reported to authorities and investigated. Well, that's absurd. Consider my situation. Are they going to arrest parents for being the sorts to force their daughter to have an unwanted child?
You know, it actually gets harder and harder to write about these propositions because they make me so mad, and I can not believe that Californians are voting on this AGAIN. The simple truth is, if you are the sort of parent whose child comes to them with problems, your child will come to you. But not every young woman is that fortunate. The Campaign for Teen Safety has a great page about Prop 4, including links to the official Prop 4 Summary, as well as the No on 4 Ballot Argument.
I've had this uneasy feeling about this Prop for months now because all of Californian's attention seems so focused on Prop 8. And rightfully so, but I hope hope hope that if you care about a woman's right to make reproductive decisions with her doctor and who else she chooses, you will also remember to vote NO on Prop 4. It really is a disastrous proposition for young women in California, and I hope against hope that ALL of our current freedoms are intact on the day after election day.
BlogHer is non-partisan but our bloggers (including me) aren't! Follow our coverage of Politics & News.
Podcast: Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards spoke with Suzanne Reisman about reproductive rights - In case you missed it, a great podcast from BlogHer.
California's Prop 4 Jeopardizes the Doctor-Patient Relationship - from Carole Joffe and Dr. Eleanor Drey on RH Reality Check.
Remember to Vote NO on Prop 4!