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Text of letter sent to Senator Michael Roberson on December 11, 2015:
Dear Senator Roberson,
During the next week, Governor Sandoval will likely call a special session of the legislature. As such, you are presented with a rare opportunity to address a glaring loophole in Nevada law, namely the lack of parental involvement in an underage girl’s decision to have an abortion, a surgical procedure
AB405 would have corrected this loophole and established a commonsense level of parental rights. This bill required one parent notification for a minor girl seeking an abortion. It included a judicial bypass and an exception for medical emergencies.
Senator, what other medical or surgical procedures allow a child under 18 to provide consent? Girls in Nevada can’t get Tylenol, go on a field trip at school or have their ears pierced without the consent of one parent, let alone SIMPLE NOTIFICATION. Unfortunately, due to politics, this bill was never properly considered. Hearings were scheduled at the last minute. Legislators erroneously told the media that it was dead several times throughout the process. It was blocked in your caucus. It was never given an up or down vote in your Senate. I heard from many Republican legislators throughout the session that the bill was dead on arrival because of the Governor’s opposition. I have heard from you that you have always been in favor of parental notification. The upcoming session provides you the opportunity to put your considerable sway within your caucus and with the governor to great service of families throughout the state.
It is my feeling that the governor does not care one way or another on this issue. Please answer the call of the thousands of citizens of Nevada who took time to call, write, email, send postcards and attend hearings, by leveraging the desire to bring Farraday to Nevada to pass AB405. The girls of Nevada will finally enjoy the protection given the millions of girls in the thirty-eight states that have parental involvement laws. Please lend your considerable political capital to this small issue that will affect so many in our state.
When my daughter is late for a class in highschool, I get a phone call from the attendance office. Yet, a teacher or counselor or boyfriend’s mother could take her to a clinic for an abortion, a surgical procedure with real and documented risks or a chemical, RU-486 abortion [not to be confused with emergency contraception] with real and documented risks without me ever knowing. I would be unable to counsel her on ALL of her options. I would not have the opportunity to pick the best doctor. I would not have any clue that she had a medical procedure that necessitated post-operative care. How horrible to find that important information out in the emergency room, or God forbid, the morgue. This is a REAL concern.
Imagine the stress that a young girl – with her life ahead of her – faces when she finds she is pregnant. Imagine the fear of the unknown, the desire not to disappoint her parents or cause them any grief, the feeling that abortion is a Hobson’s Choice. That is what a number of girls feel. If only her parents were involved to bring the experience of a lifetime of living through mistakes, perhaps she would not feel like abortion is her ONLY choice.
AB405 would require the doctor to notify one parent. There is a 48-hour waiting period to allow the parent to present all options. After that time, if the young girl chooses abortion, even against the will of her parents, she has the right to pursue that path. If her parents provide proof of notification, the abortion proceeds immediately. For whatever reason, if the minor child does not want a parent notified, she may utilize the judicial bypass. The judicial bypass meets the Supreme Court time requirements and provides a “sealed-plus” level of confidentiality for the petitioner.
Although the word “abortion” appeared in the summary of AB405, this is not a pro-life or pro-choice bill. This is a parental rights bill. No girl wishing to get an abortion will be denied. It merely requires a second set of eyes, whether a parent, guardian or judicial surrogate, to assist a girl in the midst of a crisis pregnancy. Pro-choice and pro-life advocates alike see the wisdom in parental involvement. One interesting fact – in polling, women are in favor of parental notification at a higher rate than men. I would imagine it is because we, as women, know what is involved in pregnancy, child-bearing and abortion. We know – either through our own experience, or the experience of a friend or family member – how the choice to get an abortion can be a lonely, painful and ceaseless event – one that should not be undertaken without a parent or loved one.
A parent knows their daughter’s medical history and has the resources to choose the best medical care for their daughter. Without the knowledge of a medical procedure, a parent will not be able to provide necessary and proper pre- and post-operative care and caution.
AB405 is a tightly written bill that passes constitutional muster. It is based on Minnesota’s parental involvement law that the US Supreme Court declared constitutional over 25 years ago.
Over 30 states have similar laws – some much more stringent – and have seen real benefits like reduced teen pregnancy and abortion rates. Tragically, Nevada has some of the worst teen pregnancy and abortion rates in the country. This has proved to be a bi-partisan solution in other states. Isn’t it time we try something new?
Some are concerned that such notice would expose the child to abuse from her parent(s). While this is certainly not the norm, abuse does exist and we are rightly concerned about protecting young girls. But teens in severely abusive situations need help. Providing them an abortion and returning them to the abusive environment merely allows the abuse to continue undetected. Sexual predators and sex traffickers use abortion to cover their crimes. Who better than a family court judge to intervene in such a case?
Although it was alleged the judicial bypass in AB405 could take 21-28 days, 30 years of experience in other states prove otherwise. The judicial bypass in other states is very efficient and timely and rarely takes longer than a few days. Teens are not forced to stand before a judge and jury. It is generally an action in front of a judge in chambers. Every effort is made to protect the girl’s privacy and dignity.
Including parental notification in a call for special session would allow it to get a proper hearing at a time when it has the highest possibility of passage. I fear without your intervention, pre-teens, teens and parents will not have the necessary protection in law for another thirty years.
I am giving you the first opportunity to right a horrible wrong. As you know, I am passionate about the safety of our children. Like many parents in the state of Nevada, I will not rest until young girls and the rights of their parents are protected.
Please call me as soon as possible. I know that you understand that time is of the essence.
For their lives,
Melissa Clement, Nevada Right to Life, President
For the first time in four decades, parental involvement in an underage child’s medical procedures – including abortion – may finally be guaranteed. Girls and boys, under 18, can not be expected to make life-changing decisions without the knowledge of their greatest advocates, their parents.
AB405 is a commonsense bill that requires a doctor peforming an abortion to NOTIFY one parent prior to an underage girl receiving this surgical or medical procedure, with inherent risks and complications. Parental consent is not required, merely notification. Just like a parent NEEDS to know when their child is getting a tooth filled, a tylenol dispensed by a school nurse, or has been skipping school, parents need to know about an abortion.
This will be decided – up or down – in the next three days. I know you have called, written and attended hearings. But can you give our state just a little more?
TAKE ACTION NOW
- Forward this email (include one or two quick paragraphs why you support AB405) to the senators listed below (cut and paste).
pete.Goicoechea@sen.state.nv.us, mark.Lipparelli@sen.state.nv.us, david.Parks@sen.state.nv.us, michael.Roberson@sen.state.nv.us, joyce.Woodhouse@sen.state.nv.us, email@example.com, Greg.firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, aaron.Ford@sen.state.nv.us, Don.Gustavson@sen.state.nv.us, ScottHammond@sen.state.nv.us, joe.Hardy@sen.state.nv.us, BeckyHarris@sen.state.nv.us, ruben.Kihuen@sen.state.nv.us, mark.Manendo@sen.state.nv.us, tick.Segerblom@sen.state.nv.us, james.Settelmeyer@sen.state.nv.us, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, AGuevara@KTVN.com
- Sometime in the next three days, while the legislators are meeting, stop by the legislative bldg in Carson City (401 S. Carson Street) or the Grant Sawyer bldg. in Las Vegas (555 E. Washington) and leave a handwritten note for the senators (make 21 copies) and one for the Governor asking for support of AB405.
Forward this info to 20 people asking them to do the same.
Time is running out! We can do this!
Every election cycle, candidates come to our doors, beg for a hearing and request our vote.
There is an unspoken understanding that when the time comes, they will give us a hearing and then a vote. What we have gotten this session is a game of whodunnit. Phantom fiscal notes, murky opposition, blame-shifting, mysterious position shifts make the last two months seem like a very long and repetitive Hardy Boys book. So, let’s gather up our pals and solve this mystery.
At the end of the session if the bill dies, who killed the bill? Key suspects:
Ben Kieckhefer: Senator K. has long said he didn’t like this bill and didn’t have time for it. In a weird change of heart, he is now in favor of it as witnessed by his release of AB405 from HIS finance committee after a 31 day hostage situation. Apparently it took 31 days to find the fiscal notes on NELIS, read them and finally decide the FantomPhiscalNote was not going to appear suddenly. In fact he is so in favor of AB405, he didn’t need to attend Monday’s hearing in front of his committee. Thank you for your upcoming vote on the Floor of the Senate.
Michael Roberson: Majority Leader has ALWAYS supported this bill. The flood of yes on 405 postcards he received in the last several weeks has givien strength to his support. We thank him for his upcoming vote on the Floor of the Senate.
Greg Brower: Senator B has been able to dance away from this issue because it has not come before him. He has rebuffed several constituents when asked about this issue. Why don’t we put it before him and see where he stands? He doesn’t want to talk about it, he doesn’t want to think about it, he doesn’t want to vote on it!!
Joe Hardy, Chairman of HHS graciously took AB405 from Finance and gave it a hearing. But he has also said there will be NO vote until he has assurances that 11 will vote for it on the floor. Why? A little bit like saying I am not going to vote in the upcoming presidential election until I know for sure the guy I like is going to win. How are voters to know who is standing with parents and who is not?
Aaron Ford, Minority Leader: There is a good chance that the minority caucus will hang together in opposition to this bill. One of the biggest supporters of Democrats is Planned Parenthood and killing AB405 has always been their number one goal. Will the Democrats walk in lock-step or will they stand with parents – pro-choice and pro-life – who view parents as their children’s advocate rather than their children’s enemy?
Governor Sandoval. In the paper poll known as the GREAT 2015 AB405 Postcard Campaign, Governor Sandoval ran neck and neck with Senator Kieckhefer. Although many have had assurances that Governor Sandoval will sign the bill should it get to his desk, many suspect that he has been the force behind the several attempted legislative homicides on this commonsense bill. A common refrain from legislators, lobbyists and citizens is “if he wanted the bill, he would get it – witness the Bullying Bill.”
The citizens have spoken with one voice. The phone calls, emails, post cards and attendance at both hearings were overwhelmingly in favor of this bill. Come the next election cycle, this bill and its outcome will be a factor. And then, the mystery will be solved.
Keep calling. It’s not dead yet!
Your calls have worked! Just now we received word that their will be a hearing for AB405 in the Senate HHS Committee. This is a HUGE victory. The hearing will be Monday afternoon, May 25th. That’s right, Memorial Day. MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!
Monday, May 25, 2:30pm, Room 1214 of Legislative Bldg. 401 S. Carson Street, Carson City.
DOWNLOAD FLYER TO ENCOURAGE FRIENDS TO ATTEND HEARING IN CARSON hearing
DOWNLOAD FLYER TO ENCOURAGE FRIENDS TO ATTEND TELECONFERENCED HEARING IN LAS VEGAS hearing
Please email Senator Joe Hardy and thank him for taking the bill and his work to keep AB405 alive. Joe.Hardy@sen.state.nv.us
Senate Health and Human Services Committee Members:
Chairman Joe Hardy, 775-684-1462, Joe.Hardy@sen.state.nv.us
Senator Ben Kieckhefer, 775-684-1450, Ben.Kieckhefer@sen.state.nv.us
Senator Mark Lipparelli, 775-684-1475, Mark.Lipparelli@sen.state.nv.us
Senator Debbie Smith, 775-684-1433, Debbie.Smith@sen.state.nv.us
Senator Joyce Woodhouse, 775-684-1457, Joyce.Woodhouse@sen.state.nv.us
If AB405 does not pass this session, one man gets total credit. A political legacy that few parents will forget. Ben Kieckhefer, 775-684-1450 and Ben.Kieckhefer@sen.state.nv.us, has worked tirelessly to ensure the death of the most low bar, common sense parental rights bill. One must ask, why?
- Is Ben Kieckhefer placating Planned Parenthood and protecting their profits?
- Is Ben Kieckhefer considering changing parties?
- Is he really that prideful that even though thousands of constituents – FROM HIS DISTRICT – have contacted him asking, begging, demanding a hearing, he continues to prohibit good parents from parenting?
- Does he thinks HIS KIDS would never get in a situation where they would lie or turn to a secret abortionist, unlike parents who are not as good as him?
Call him and let him know, YOU WON’T FORGET! And, IT’S NOT DEAD YET!
Today, I am opening with a shout-out to all of our community organizers, big and small. Some of the smaller ones have had the opportunity to learn old-school tactics. Emails are great. Calls are great. Visits are wonderful, but nothing says activism like a pile of thousands of postcards. Hey little Bridges, those postcards you put in your mailbox in Las Vegas ended up on the desk above MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Good work gentlemen!
Today’s action item starts with a bit of a preface. I had the opportunity to chat with the staff in both the Governor’s and Senator Kieckhefer’s office. These are the patient folks who answer our calls and sort and count our postcards. They work tirelessly and they are delightful folks. This is the first time some of them have seen an old school postcard campaign and they are getting a kick out of it.
Today, please call Senator Ben Kieckhefer’s office 775-684-1450 and start by thanking the staff. Give them a nice compliment (because sometimes they are the one’s that get the brunt of the frustration all of us feel). Nine times out of ten, these folks are on our side, although they can not voice an opinion. After you thank them, ask them to share your message with the senator, move AB405 into HHS and vote in favor of this common sense bill.
There are rumors that there will be a hearing and even Planned Parenthood is running scared. Keep it up. Spread the word. Call. Rinse and repeat.