The same Mary Davenport who took on the scientific falsehoods in Michael J. Fox’s ad has co-authored an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding the parental notification proposition (Prop. 85) on California’s ballot. The Proposition requires that, before a teenage girl can have an abortion, the clinic must notify her parents. As the mother of a young girl , I think Prop. 85 is a definite yes. So does Davenport, and her co-author, Jane Anderson:
In recent years, teens have died in California from complications of secret abortions that might have been prevented with parental help in securing adequate medical care. It is outrageous that young girl can undergo such a serious procedure as an abortion with mental-health risks such as depression and even suicide, without the involvement of her parents. Some 30 states already have parental involvement laws such as Proposition 85 protecting young girls. These states have seen significant reductions in teen abortion and teen pregnancy rates.
A recent study from Florida State University found that in states with parental-involvement laws, the gonorrhea rate among teens dropped significantly. The researchers’ conclusion: incentives matter. When a girl — and her boyfriend — know that her parents would have to be notified if she wanted an abortion, they are motivated to avoid risky sexual behavior.
Opponents have claimed at various times that 60, 70, 80 or 90 percent of minors already tell a parent. In fact, a study of 1,500 minors conducted by Planned Parenthood’s research arm found that only 45 percent reported telling a parent. This study of minors voluntarily reporting is itself skewed against showing the true percentages who don’t tell a parent. Why is it that the majority of minors don’t tell? By far the most common reason given for not telling a parent is that they didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them. Only a very small percentage cite fear of abuse, and it is for just those cases that Proposition 85 provides the judicial-waiver process. With the judicial bypass, a minor can explain to a juvenile court judge why it is not in her best interests for a parent to be notified. If there is evidence of abuse, in addition to granting the waiver, the judge will report that to child-protective services. A minor living in an abusive home needs help and intervention. A secret abortion does nothing but leave her in the same environment, vulnerable to further abuse. In other states with parental notification laws, 5 to 10 percent of teens make use of a judicial bypass process. The experience of other states with similar laws demonstrates that minors in abusive situations are adequately protected.
Unsurprisingly, given its readership and editorial Board, the article indicates that the SF Chron, in advising its readers how to vote, has told them to Vote No on Prop. 85.