Unfortunately, the people whose lives will be most impacted by Ballot Measure 2 were not old enough to vote in the primary election August 24. The proposition, which requires a physician notify parents before performing an abortion and requires teens to notify or in lieu of, go to court to obtain a notarized statement about abuse, won voter approval.
Being a teenage girl is hard, especially in a state with some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, interpersonal violence, rape and abuse. Now, more than ever Alaskans must stand together as allies with young women, and men, in our communities who face incredibly hard choices everyday.
Luckily, there are many services available to teens in Juneau. Men and women, including teenage victims, can continue to look to Planned Parenthood for a range of legal options when faced with the need for confidential medical services. Juneau Youth Services and AWARE provide counseling to students at Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas High School. Young women who are experiencing abuse can also seek counseling and support services through AWARE, even if they are not residents of the facility. Finally, Zach Gordon Youth Center hosts healthy relationship classes and support services for young parents.
While we, at Juneau NOW, are disappointed in the outcome of the Ballot Measure 2 election, as is much of Alaska, we are heartened by the progress made toward developing a strong coalition in support of a voice for women's rights. This political force must continue forward by supporting young men and women. We can do this by prosecuting to the full extent of the law sexual offenders, by supporting community services for teens, and by promoting comprehensive sex education in every school district, so that no teen ever has to make the difficult choices surrounding pregnancy.
President of the Juneau Chapter of the National Organization of Women