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Prop. 4 would take away options

September 18, 2008

Re "A dishonest proposition," Opinion, Sept. 15

As a physician who cares for teens, I thank Francesca Ratner for exposing the dangerous purpose behind the parental notification initiative: to keep minors from having abortions.

The reality is that most of my patients already discuss their decision to have an abortion with their parents, who typically accompany them for the procedure. The rest have compelling reasons for bypassing parental involvement, including fears of abuse or abandonment.

The options provided by Proposition 4 force teens to choose between navigating a bulky and overburdened court system, notifying another relative (which would trigger a mandated investigation of their home lives), having a child in disastrous circumstances or choosing a potentially life-threatening unsupervised abortion.

Proposition 4 would do nothing more than compound these girls' suffering and possibly endanger their health.

Right now, California teens have better options than that. Let's keep it that way.

Radha Lewis MD

Los Angeles

The writer is a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.

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