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In Honor of My Sister: No on Prop 85

Dr. Connie Mitchell is a nationally recognized expert on the health care of victims of violence and abuse. She serves on the AMA National Advisory Council on Violence and Abuse and is a member of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

I grew up as one of four daughters in a middle-class family. As sisters, we shared everything: bedroom, clothes, cars and double dates. It was a loving and lively home and one, I thought, of few secrets. But recently, after one of my sisters was killed in a tragic accident, another sister told me of the secret the two of them had kept for many years. At age 16, my deceased sister was pregnant and wanted to terminate the pregnancy. She sought the counsel and support of the sister now disclosing the story and got the reproductive health care she needed.

Later, I asked my mother about her reaction to the story, as I too was raising teenagers and would appreciate her perspective. My mother began to cry, but she quickly let me know that these were not tears about the abortion. Her tears flowed because the story made her feel so inadequate. She said, "I wish that I could ask her what I might have said or done differently so that she would know, really know, that I understood life provides challenges, that I loved her no matter what, and that I respected her as a young woman."

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We Can Do Better Than Prop 85

Dr. Connie Mitchell is a nationally recognized expert on the health care of victims of violence and abuse. She serves on the AMA National Advisory Council on Violence and Abuse and is a member of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

I believe that the people who have financed and supported Proposition 85 are sincere, so I must ask: what do they really want? Decreased teenage abortion rates? More parental involvement with teens? Time to explore all the pros and cons of a decision regarding abortion? Whatever the real goals of Prop. 85, as Senator Clinton said in a recent phone message about this initiative: "We can do better."

If the goal of Prop. 85 is to reduce teenage abortion rates, we can do this a better way. Teen pregnancy and abortion rates are already declining in California. California was one of the first states to refuse federal funding for sex education, because educators wanted to ensure that young men and women in our state get complete information about their sexual health. If the backers of Prop. 85 really want to reduce teen pregnancy rates, they should help support legislation that requires and funds comprehensive sexuality education. We must also ensure that teens who do become sexually active – despite our concerns that their minds are not as mature as their bodies – have access to contraception. If they're not ready for sex, then by all means, they're not ready for a baby.

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California’s Proposition 85: Reality Bites

Dr. Connie Mitchell is a nationally recognized expert on the health care of victims of violence and abuse. She serves on the AMA National Advisory Council on Violence and Abuse and is a member of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

If Prop 85 passes, teens in California will be forced to wait until their parents are notified before having an abortion. The more I think about the impact this initiative could have on young women in my state, the more I've found myself contemplating what passing this law would mean in real life. Just how long will a pregnant young woman have to wait before she can have an abortion?

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An Expert Warns Against Parental Notification Legislation

Dr. Connie Mitchell is a nationally recognized expert on the health care of victims of violence and abuse. She serves on the AMA National Advisory Council on Violence and Abuse and is a member of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. This is another in a series of posts looking at the ballot initiative in California.

Last week, I read an opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee from a doctor who supports parental notification legislation. In his op-ed, Dr. John Gisla argued that Proposition 85 is "simple, common sense legislation." I completely disagree. Prop. 85 is neither simple nor common sense, nor is it necessary. Let's look at the facts.

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