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Above: An ACLU/SC No on 85 house party last month.
California voters soundly rejected Proposition 85, which would have required parental notification of abortion for pregnant teens and put those in violent or abusive homes at risk of further injury. "Californians voted to protect all our daughters, not just those who live in safe homes with loving parents," said ACLU/SC executive director Ramona Ripston. "Laws don't mandate good family communication."
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined the state's top medical groups, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU/SC in opposing Proposition 85. ACLU/SC members held dozens of house parties to educate voters about Proposition 85, knocked on voters' doors, and raised money to support No on 85 ads and direct voter-to-voter contact.
For the second year in a row, Californians turned away a parental notification law that would have hurt teens and threatened choice. The percentage of those who opposed Proposition 85 actually grew from last year, when a virtually identical measure failed.
Studies from the 35 states that have parental-notification laws in effect show that they do not affect teen pregnancy or abortion rates. Instead, pregnant teens go out of state or delay seeking abortion services until they are 18, which increases medical risks. California's teen-pregnancy rate has fallen 40% since 1990, a result of comprehensive sexuality education, real-world contraception information, and support for family communication. For more information about the real solutions to teen pregnancy and the dangers of parental notification laws, visit the facts page of our No on 85 site.
L.A.'s Housing Hurdle: Los Angeles voters had a chance to give affordable housing a much-needed boost in one of the country's most-expensive cities. But Measure H came up 4 points short of a two-thirds majority. The ACLU/SC endorsed the plan to spend $1 billion for the homeless, battered spouses, and the city's working poor.
"Housing the homeless is one of the great challenges facing Los Angeles as it strives to be a city that takes care of all its residents, not just its wealthiest," said Ripston. The ACLU/SC has repeatedly called for a countywide effort to address the overcrowding of downtown's Skid Row. According to the county, some 50,000 homeless have no access to shelter of any kind, including 1,000 of the estimated 10,000 who live in Skid Row.
In recent years, the L.A. police have arrested people for sitting or sleeping on the street when there was no shelter available, a practice the Ninth Circuit Court ruled illegal. "You can't arrest your way out of homelessness," said ACLU/SC legal director Mark Rosenbaum. "The chief agrees with us, and so do the city attorney and the mayor."
Measure H also included $250 million to help first-time low-income home buyers. More than two-thirds of L.A. city residents can not afford to buy a median-priced home.
About ACLU/SC Endorsements: The ACLU is a nonpartisan organization and does not take positions endorsing candidates. The ACLU/SC endorses ballot measures selectively. In the Nov. 7 election, we supported measures to extend equal access to housing and education and opposed efforts to limit reproductive rights.