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Thursday, October 20, 2005

No on 73  
San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, 7 October 2005

DEAR ABBY: From time to time, you tell young women who think they might be pregnant and are afraid to tell their parents, to do so. I usually do not write letters like this, but I need to express my personal experience. I am a minister. Several years ago, I worked for Planned Parenthood and we had a young girl -- around 13 years of age -- test positive for pregnancy. We urged her to tell her parents, but she kept refusing, insisting, "Dad will kill me!"

Of course, we knew better, and finally convinced her that the best thing was to tell her parents, have the baby, and get on with her life.

Her father beat her so badly that she was in the hospital for more than a month. She lost the baby because of the beating and ended up in foster care.

I will never again tell a young person that her parents will not go crazy, and I don't think you should do that either. Thanks, Abby. I enjoy your column. -- REGRETFUL IN FLORIDA

DEAR REGRETFUL: Thank you for the warning. Even though we wish all teenagers could disclose to their parents, as your letter illustrates, it is a sad reality that some of them cannot. And we, who care about young people, have to first be concerned with their safety. Although most young girls do involve their families, there will always be some who are unable to do so.

For that reason, I do not believe that parental notification should be mandated by law. And because sex education is no longer taught in as many states as it had been before, I strongly urge parents to begin talking to their children early about the facts of life and their personal value systems, in order to create a safe and comfortable environment should a crisis occur.

(all emphases mine)