By Liam Rosen of Clackamas, Oregon. Liam is a graduate of Clackamas High School, class of 2005, and a current student at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.
Measure 43 is a statewide Oregon ballot measure that would require parental notification for girls under 18 who are planning to have an abortion. Current Oregon law requires girls 14 or younger to obtain parental consent before any medical treatment. Currently, 15-17 year old girls have the right to any medical treatment without being required to notify their parents. Measure 43 would overturn this right as it pertains to abortions.
In practice, this measure seems to have its heart in the right place. Abortion is a complicated and terrible procedure. Surely young girls should be consulting with their parents before undergoing it, right? Sure, and most do. But why should a law require them to? The real world is more complicated than the proponents of 43 would have you believe. Many young girls live in homes filled with violence and domestic abuse, and requiring a letter to be sent to the house only escalates the situation.
Measure 43 also makes no exceptions for rape and incest. What would happen in the horrible situation that a girl is being raped by a family member? It is unclear whether this is being intentionally forced upon voters as a wedge issue to reduce a woman's right to choose, or unintentionally being portrayed as saving lives of young girls when in reality endangering them.
Measure 43 is propped up by the some of the most extreme organizations and characters in Oregon. 43 is opposed by mainly Doctors, Nurses, social workers, and organizations that support a woman's right to choose.
Speaking as a teenager who has recently earned the right to vote, I know how hard it is to be under 18, relying on older voters to make the meaningful decisions. A vote of "no" on Measure 43 will effectively keep the law out of decisions that young women are old enough to be making themselves. Support responsible education and strong family values, not government-mandated notices.