Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Deceptive Proposition 4 Deserves No Vote

An interested reader sent me some information on Proposition 4 I found interesting as it hasn't gotten a lot of press. The San Jose Mercury News calls it "the most deceptive measure on California's ballot this fall." Here's a few points about Proposition 4 to consider for your ballot:

1) It puts teenagers in real danger

A scared pregnant teen who can't go to her parents can feel trapped and desperate. Instead of seeking the counseling and safe medical care she needs, she may choose an unsafe back alley, illegal abortion, go across the border, or even contemplate suicide.

For more information on the ill effects of this measure, visit this link

2) Alternate family member notification and judicial bypass are unreasonable

You can see how Prop. 4 would work on a practical level at

It's deceptive to call this "family notification." Right now a teen can go notify another adult, but Prop 4 would close off that option. Under Prop 4 before a teen could notify another family member, she must first accuse a parent of mistreatment and sign written statement saying she fears physical, sexual, or severe emotional abuse - no matter what her circumstances really are. This would trigger a family investigation by authorities. This so-called notification is nothing more than a form letter sent to another person who may not even live in the same state. There is no requirement for counseling and no requirement that the substitute adult help her when she is in crisis.

Alternatively, a teen could avoid parental notification by appearing before a judge. However, this is unrealistic. If a teen is pregnant, unable to go to her parents, and already desperate, she isn't going to navigate court bureaucracy to reveal the most intimate details of her life to an unfamiliar judge in an impersonal courthouse. She doesn't need a judge; she needs a caring counselor and safe, quality medical care without delay. Proposition 4 provides none of this.

3) Prop. 4 is rejected by experts and research

The California Medical Association, the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association, the California School Counselors Association - all major organizations who work with teens every day OPPOSE Prop. 4 because it threatens teen safety. You can visit and post for the full list.

In addition, research has shown that laws like Prop. 4 do not work. For instance, a Bixby Center brief highlights the dangerous actions teens are likely to take if parental notification in implemented in California. Visit to read this brief and for other research on laws like Prop 4.

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Anonymous Yes on 4 said...

Teenage girls need to be more frightened BEFORE they chose to have irresponsible sex; not use it as an excuse afterwards. Get your priorities straight.

10/16/2008 7:06 AM  
Blogger Paula Silinger said...

My name is Paula and I’m an intern for Ms. magazine. I just came across your wonderful blog post about California Proposition 4 and wanted to let you know about a new video that has just been released from the Feminist Majority Foundation, the publisher of Ms.

This November, South Dakotans will vote on a draconian abortion ban – Initiated Measure 11. I’m sure you are very aware how dangerous Measure 11 is to women’s reproductive health and rights, as it aims to make it nearly impossible for a woman to obtain an abortion in South Dakota. With help from some celebrities like Camryn Manheim, Amy Brenneman and Sara Ramirez, this video urges people to vote NO on 11 this November on the South Dakota ballot. Check it out/spread it around:

And of course, please check out our Vote No on 4 video:

Please consider posting these videos onto your website so it is made available to your visitors. We must do all that we can to preserve women’s reproductive rights and let women know what’s at risk this election!

Thanks for your consideration,

Paula Silinger
Ms. magazine

10/17/2008 3:15 PM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

Isn't this just another repeat of so called "values voter" issues designed to stir up the right-wing base. We had a similar proposition two years ago that would required parental notification regardless of the pregnant teen's homelife and circumstances. This is another political wedge issue designed to engage, divide and dilute.

Democratic and Republican policies are very different and as I recall that Democratic policies prove much better at preventing teen pregnancy and subsequent abortions. The Democratic party is the true pro-life party. Vote No on 4 and Vote Democratic.

10/17/2008 3:51 PM  

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