In Oregon, those over the age of 15 can make their own decisions on medical care without a parent’s permission. Ballot Measure 43 would make abortion an exception to that law, requiring parental notification by medical providers for young women ages 15-17. At 18, teens are considered an adult and parents have no say.
Many people have surely made up their minds already on Measure 43. They properly recognize it as a pro-choice or pro-life question and will vote accordingly.
Those who support a woman’s right to choose would have an easier time considering Measure 43 if it were written differently. For example:
• While billed as a safety issue for young women, it does not include other medical procedures that carry the same risk or more.
• It also does not include an exception, common in many states, for rape or incest.
• Young women seeking an exception would need to appeal to an administrative law judge, probably through the Department of Human Services, to plead their case.
Many people who work with teens are opposed to this measure because they are well aware of the problems many of them face in abusive relationships at home. They fear this law could endanger the health and lives of some of these young women.
Opponents to this measure also point out that medical care providers can already contact the parents of a 15- to 17-year-old, if they choose. This measure takes decisions of what medical professionals believe is best for a patient out of their hands and gives it to a bureaucrat.
Oregonians who believe fervently that all abortions, with a rare exception, should be forbidden will comfortably support this measure.
Those who think it could put young women at risk, or that this is not a decision for government to make, should vote against it.