Serena Josel is the Outreach & Advocacy Manager for Planned Parenthood Orange & San Bernardino Counties. Josel began volunteering for Planned Parenthood when she was 17 years old, and she has worked for them ever since.

This November 7th voters will have their say on another unworkable and dangerous parental notification initiative—Prop. 85. As Election Day draws closer (and with 85 polling even!) I find myself starting to worry, “What if 85 actually passes?” Well, for most teens not much would change—because 70% of teens voluntarily include their parents in their decision to have an abortion. But what about the other 30%?

It’s those 30% that I worry about. The ones that can’t talk to their parents—the teens that grow up in homes where there is abuse, alcoholism, or even incest. The teens that know that telling mom or dad will mean being kicked out of their house or subject to further abuse. For those teens, an already difficult decision will become absolutely terrifying. Backers of 85 tell us not to worry—these teens can always go to court for a judge’s waiver. How likely is that!?! How many pregnant teens from troubled homes can we really expect to march into a courtroom to ask a judge’s permission? Those questions get me worrying even more…

For those of us that oppose Prop. 85, this fear is compounded by a look at the experience in other states with laws similar to 85—and it’s not a pretty picture. Some of those young women cross borders—going into neighboring states or even Mexico seeking dangerous, illegal abortions. Many put off seeing a doctor for weeks or even months until their eighteenth birthday—dramatically increasing the number of second trimester abortions. And some of those young women even find ways to self-abort—a desperate and dangerous measure that nearly drowns me in a tidal wave of worry.

When it comes down to it, what I’m really worried about is that voters will go into the ballot booth this November 7th without remembering that these young women live among us and need our protection. If you’re worried too then it’s time to get involved—check out www.NOon85.com. Watch the commercial, sign up to volunteer, or make a donation. Most importantly, don’t forget to vote NO on 85.

  1 comment for “

  1. Anonymous
    October 25, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    serena josel rocks.

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