by Steven Ertelt
November 2, 2006
Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — Both sides in the debate on Measure 43, the proposal that would allow parents to know when their minor daughters are considering an abortion, are fighting each other over the accuracy of campaign ads regarding it.
The large part of the debate surrounds the judicial bypass provision that is a Supreme Court mandated requirement for parental notification proposals and a part of similar laws in other states.
The No On 43 campaign is airing a television commercial portraying a father who received a letter notifying him of his daughter’s pregnancy and desire to have an abortion. Unlike most parents, the father reacts angrily and the commercial makes it appear the daughter should be concerned about her personal safety.
It claims the parental notification measure "puts at-risk teens in greater danger" and is "not safe."
Sarah Nashif, the campaign manager for the Committee to Protect Our Teen Daughters, which backs the initiative, says abortion advocates are misleading voters about the measure.
"That scares people," Nashif told the Portland Oregonian newspaper. "They fail to mention the judicial bypass, and that is false advertising."
In cases when teenagers have suffered abuse or are concerned about their parents abusing them when learning about their pregnancy, a judicial bypass is allowed where a teenager can get an abortion without telling her parents.
But the television ad doesn’t mention that possibility.
Another pro-abortion ad features Mary Lou Hennrich, an Oregon nurse who claims the parental notification measure is problematic because it allows parents to know their daughters are considering an abortion after they’ve been raped.
The ad claims the bypass measure would be tough for teenagers to go through in cases of incest or abuse at home, even though abortion businesses routinely have attorneys on hand to guide teens through the process.
The Vote Yes on 43 campaign has two television ads it’s been airing.
One ad features a young woman sitting in the waiting room at an abortion center. While her boyfriend looks on approvingly, the girl calls her mother who is busily working at a local diner and tells her she’s at the library.
"Everyday in Oregon minors undergo secret abortions without the knowledge and protection of their parents," a narrator says in a voice-over. "Many go on to suffer depression, drug and alcohol abuse."
"Does it make sense to shut parents out when they’re needed the most?" the ad concludes.
Under the ballot measure, a teenager would not be able to have an abortion unless her parents are notified 48 hours in advance. According to research from University of Alabama professor Dr. Michael New, similar laws in other states have significantly reduced the number of teen abortions.
In its battle with Planned Parenthood to help parents help their daughters to avoid abortions, Oregon Right to Life, which is leading the fight for parental notification, is losing the cash battle.
The most recent report by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office shows that supporters of Measure 43 reported raising $207,000 for the proposal to aide parents and teenagers.
Meanwhile, the No on 43 campaign raised $706,000 to defeat the modest proposal to protect the state’s 15, 16 and 17 year-old girls.
But a poll released late last month shows Oregon residents strong support the November ballot initiative.
Sponsored by the Oregonian newspaper and KATU, the survey found 56 percent of Oregon voters support the parental notification initiative while just 38 percent oppose it.
Some 6 percent of voters are undecided on Measure 43, which is lower than the percentage of voters that are normally unsure with several weeks left to go in the campaign.
Thanks to efforts from Oregon Right to Life, abortions in Oregon are down to their lowest levels since 1998, having decreased 20 percent between then and 2004, the latest year from which state data is available.
The Oregon Department of Human Services reported 14,344 abortions in 1998, but that number decreased to 11,443 abortions in 2004.