What if the Yes on Prop 4 group dropped the deceptive language and opted for the more fitting slogan “Bring back the wire hanger”?

 

As per usual with propositions that are based on draconian measures, there is all sorts of misinformation regarding Proposition 4 here in California. While the proposition aims to make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to have access to an abortion without parental consent, Prop 4 is advertising itself with the logo “stop child sexual predators.”

Just this morning, as I drove onto campus, I saw a large sign with the above logo. How does criminalizing abortion have anything to do with stopping sexual predators? This is blatant misinformation and propaganda of the ugliest kind. Orwell (and Sanger) are rolling in their graves…

Rather than being anything remotely related to “sexual predators,” Prop  4 aims to be another nail in the Roe coffin. As the subtitle of an editorial from the LA Times, notes, “Proposition 4 isn’t really about parental notification; it’s an attack on the right to an abortion.” This odious proposition being touted in California as a “stop predators” law is also called “Sarah’s Law.” The story behind this name, as the piece in the LA Times documents, reveals a great deal:

“Sarah” was, according to Proposition 4 supporters, a 15-year-old girl who died from an abortion gone wrong 14 years ago, a death that might have been prevented had her parents been notified beforehand. Much of that is false. The girl’s name wasn’t Sarah; she lived in Texas, not California; and though she was 15, she already had a child and was in a common-law marriage, which means she wouldn’t have been covered by the law Californians are being asked to consider.

Wow! The scare tactics and deception surrounding Prop 4 is off the charts. While Prop 4 pretends to be about “teen safety,” what it is really about is eradicating reproductive freedom and providing the first legal step to outlawing abortion in California. Moreover, this is the third attempt to pass such a measure. Shouldn’t there be some sort of limit as to how many times we have to vote this down?

The proponents of this measure are acting like toddlers, hoping if they ask again and again and again the answer might finally be yes. Here is the scenario dramatized in this way – with a child who keeps asking the same question in slightly different ways in hopes of finally garnering a ‘yes.’ (The role of the ‘child’ represents Prop 4 proponents – imagine a man-child who does not ever face being pregnant in order to accord with the fact that those without pregnancy capabilities (MEN!) make the majority of repro rights laws; the role of the “Mommy” represents prop 4 opponents — imagine a feminist mother who understands that women’s advancements, health, well-being etc are directly related to their ability to own and control their own reproductive capacities):

Scene:

“Mommy, can we please outlaw abortion?”

“No.”

“Please, mommy. I want to protect teenagers from the dangers of abortion. Plus, I like the bible.”

“No. Abortion is a very safe procedure, safer in fact than pregnancy. And, your personal fondness for the bible should not translate into laws affecting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own life and body.”

“Please, please mommy. I want to stop sexual predators and I don’t like baby killing!”

“No. Don’t be ridiculous. Outlawing abortion will do nothing to stop sexual predators. This may be over your head, but sexual violence and abuse is linked to our patriarchal society that champions violent masculinity NOT to a female’s ability to control her own reproductive capacity. And, Roe V. Wade never did give absolute abortion rights. Abortions in the third trimester have always been limited to those cases where the mother’s life is at risk or the fetus is not viable. Plus, an embryo, zygote, and fetus is not a “baby.” You are mixing terms, sonny!”

“But, mommy, please? Life begins at conception!”

“No. The way you are characterizing life is simplistic. If the embryo/zygote/fetus cannot survive outside the womb on its own, does it represent an individual life? A potential life, maybe, but not a ‘baby’ that could survive without relying on its mother’s body/womb. In this type of scenario, the ‘life’ of the fetus is given far more precedence than the ‘life’ of the mother. Please refrain from throwing around terms like ‘life’ until you understand the complexities of the argument.”

“But, Mommy, please, can we? Can we just outlaw abortion? Pretty please?”

“No. Stop asking! Now run off and do something useful. And leave your sister alone!”

Curtain.

So, this dramatization might seem a bit of a stretch, but what I am trying to convey is that the Pro-4 group is acting like spoiled children who just want their way – they are lying to get what they want and trying to tug on the heartstrings of voters with misinformation. Despite the continual rejection of such propositions (this will be the THIRD TIME in California!), and despite the hard work of groups like The Feminist Majority Foundation, the “children” (re: anti-choicers) keep asking the question! In so doing, they ignore the fact that most teens already inform their parents of pregnancies. And, although the anti-choicers claim Prop 4 has loopholes that would allow girls/young women with abusive parents an out, the hoops one has to jump through to be able to avoid parental consent are preventative. How many 12 year old girls that are pregnant as a result of sexual abuse by their father are going to make a written accusation to take to the authorities or go before a judge to petition to avoid parental notification? How will said twelve your old get to the court? What will she tell her parents she is doing? Seems like this “judicial bypass” would create the need to deceive and sneak around as well as likely require girls/young women to try and navigate transportational needs and the court system on their own. Yeah, but the law is about “protecting and helping teens.” BS!

What a passage of Prop 4 would do is promote UNSAFE abortions, not curtail the number of abortions. Prop 4 is not going to make teens have any less sex, it is not going to do anything to promote safe sex or the use of contraceptives, it is not going to do one damn thing to “stop sexual predators.” If anything, teens who would have likely told their parents about their pregnancies might feel less inclined to do so when this sharing of information is mandated by law. Wouldn’t focusing on good, trusting, open communication with one’s child/teenager be the best option for parents/caregivers to take? Does this sort of thing really need a law? And what message does this give to children/teens about personal responsibility and maturity? Do we really want to raise a generation of youths who are forced into revealing information by law rather than by choice?

When I was in high school in the late 80s, I recall a number of stories of attempted self-induced abortions – and this was in the pre-Bush empire days when there was a lot more access to family planning clinics, etc. The most horrific example involved a good friend of mine who was afraid to tell her mother that she was pregnant as her mother was already verbally abusive and controlling in the extreme. It was just her and her mom, with no support of involvement on the part of the father, and they were financially struggling. Thus, she had no financial means to seek out an abortion, let alone the car that would be needed to get her to the clinic in our no-public-transportation locale. So, she opted for a hanger. Her mother found her passed out, surrounded by a pool of blood. She nearly bled to death. This was in 1987 – not 1957! If this was happening pre-evangelical USA, what must be happening now? And how much worse would laws like Proposition 4 make things?

Before the passage of Roe V Wade, the number of illegal abortions occurring each year was in the range of 1 million – this is an estimate as this 1 million number represents women willing to divulge such information. Thus, the actual number of yearly abortions pre-Roe is likely much higher. Would we like to go back to the pre-Roe days of knitting needles, wire hangers, bleach solutions, Drano douches and the like? Um, NO! No! No! No! (Sorry for the repetition — the anti-choicers seem to have trouble hearing “No” when it comes to their desires to curtail reproductive rights.) The slogan for the Yes on 4 group should NOT be “stop sexual predators” but “Bring back the wire hanger!” Sadly, even if this were the slogan accompanying Yes on 4 signs, there are still all too many people – some of them women – who would vote yes.

If this disturbs those of you in California, go here to sign a pledge, donate, or learn about No on 4 events in your area. And, go here to see a No on 4 video by the Feminist Majority Foundation, and, of course, vote NO on 4 come election day

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11 thoughts on “What if the Yes on Prop 4 group dropped the deceptive language and opted for the more fitting slogan “Bring back the wire hanger”?”

  1. Nice skit. I read the Columbus Day post and I saw that Joana was getting a bit too far right with herself. But this Prop 4 thing, do some of these folks even know what they’re holding those signs up for? I’m no expert on abortion, but I know it gets very complicated when minors are involved. It sounds like these pro-Prop 4 folks need to be schooled on it a bit. But then again, they’re probably conservative or something like that so you can’t really blame them. No wait, yes you can.

  2. I love those that dismiss the argument that telling a parent is dangerous to the girl’s health.

    If Palin’s daughter had told her mother she was getting an abortion come hell or high water, what do you think would have happened? Thrown out of the house? Publicly shamed? Told she would never be allowed to talk to her family again? Lose all emotional and financial support?

    I had a friend come to me in terror that she was pregnant. I told her to go to the doctor, and she broke down sobbing, saying she was afraid her father would BEAT HER if she was pregnant. This was a young woman in college afraid for safety, afraid to seek medical care in case her father found out.

    This is nothing but slut-shaming and absolute control over girls and women. It is disgusting.

  3. Professor, thank you for spreading the word about Prop 4. Yes, it is indeed deceptive in its self-portrayal of “saving our families” (as is Prop 8, in a different way).

  4. How does it help with child predators- right now an embarrassed teen can go to a clinic, even with the guy who abused her and get an abortion. With parental notification, the parent already knows about the sex. The parents can ask who the father is. Better chance of turning in criminals, better chance of the abuse stopping.

    This law is also written with protections for girls fearing their parents. If they are afraid their parents will so much as withhold food, they can contact another adult relative- even down to an 18 yr old first cousin. If this will not work, there is an expediated court process, and the clinic is required to help the girl navigate the process, to allow the decision to be made for her to have the abortion without parental notification, which is by law, not to take more than 3 days.

    If that wasn’t enough- those of you who are talking about protecting the child- they can contact CPS and get the girl out of the abusive home situation.

    Parents who don’t want to know can sign a waiver.

    Many states have parental notification laws, and their has been no increase in back alley abortions since they were inacted. There have been lowered teen pregnancy, abortion and childbirth. There have been lowered rates of STDs. There has been zero evidence that these laws have done anything but good-

    12 of the 13 states with lowest rates of teen pregnancy have parental notification laws in action. That stat, courtesy of your friends at planned parenthood if you read their charts.

    Get a grip. Use some stats to support the emotional crap you are spewing. These laws have not led to girls dying with coathangers sticking out of their vagina. There have been years of these in action, and you will not be able to find any evidence of harm because there has not been any.

  5. From Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL

    The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false
    figures took root in the consciousness of Americans convincing many that we needed to
    crack the abortion law. Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that
    legalising abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then
    be done legally. In fact, the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since
    legalisation.

  6. MM,
    Thanks for the comment.
    I think some of the Prop 4 groups believe what they are endorsing is a good thing — others though certainly aim to make abortion illegal and curtail access to contraceptives and sex ed. You know, the whole “God put us here to procreate” camp…
    As per when minors are involved, well, I think people who act as if no one has sex until they are adults (or married adults at that) are totally naïve or in total denial. The pre-18 set has been having sex well before the rise of “raunch culture” — even in the ‘good ole’ 50s teens were doing the nasty. Sexual desire kicks in at different ages, but to think the majority will wait until 18 — well, it’s just foolishness. Don’t even get me started on abstinence only…

    Kara,

    Hmmm, I don’t know what would have happened if Bristol had told her mother she wanted an abortion — for all we know, she could have.

    I think many of us have had friends deal with unplanned pregnancies and seen the suffering/trauma they go through, esp if it happens pre-18. What the yes on 4 set seems to think is that everyone comes from a Leave it to Beaver type of family. Hello!!! Many families are majorly dysfunctional — there is sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, etc. Not everyone is from the apple pie image of the American family…

    It is indeed an attempt to continue to control the lives (and bodies) of females — where, after all, is the proposition that young men need to inform their parents when they have impregnated a female?

    And don’t you just love that the majority of these types of medieval measures are penned and supported by old white men?

    CulturePress,
    Thanks for reading. Yes, along with prop 8, the deception is spread on ultra-thick. You would think if these propositions were actually good for the citizenry they could actually tell the truth about what the stand for… But, of course, they are not good for the majority of the US, but for those with power and certain belief sets…

    Ridiculous,
    You have a very fitting screen name. Are you actually “Dr. Nathanson” or is that a quote without quotation marks and no link?

  7. The doctor I referred to, next to it stated who he was, he was a founder of NARAL. Look it up.

    The statistics for reduction in teen pregnancy (birth and abortions) and reduction of STDS is from the statistics charts on the planned parenthood website.

    Do some research. These laws are extremely effective, and there have been no increases in complications from illegal abortion in states that have inacted legislation like the one in CA that has protection for girls from abusive households.

    The name is “Ridiculous” because your lack of statistics to back up what you have to say is nothing short of “Ridiculous”.

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