204950 Translating research to impact public policy: California's experience with parental involvement legislation for minor's abortion in the 2005, 2006, and 2008 elections

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:10 PM

Lauren Ralph, MPH , Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Claire Brindis, DrPH , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
California voters recently considered three nearly identical propositions to require parental notification for minors seeking abortion care. Advocacy efforts to defeat these propositions were multidimensional, involving reproductive health and justice organizations, healthcare providers, legal experts, and academic researchers working in adolescent health. This presentation will focus on the role that academic researchers played in synthesizing and making readily available data on teen childbearing and the impact of these laws in states that had previously adopted these policies.

Despite the popularity of parental involvement requirements, the research on the impact of these laws is limited and at times difficult to interpret for a non-scientific audience given specific nuances in data analysis and interpretation. For each proposition, UCSF researchers compiled data on teen childbearing and sexual activity, parent-teen communication about sex and abortion, and the impact of parental involvement laws on teens in other states, in order to provide background on the potential impact of these laws in California. The data highlighted that in the absence of a parental involvement requirement, California's teen pregnancy and birth rates declined substantially in recent years and the frequency of parent-teen communication about sex remained high. Of concern, evidence from other states revealed the potential for negative consequences of these laws, including delayed access to abortion care and a potential for violence/abuse in certain family environments. The format and dissemination strategies used will be discussed, highlighting both the strengths and challenges of using scientific research to inform the overall debate over parental involvement legislation.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the background leading up to the consideration of parental involvement requirements by California voters in three elections 2. Identify the academic research available to inform discussions on the potential impact of a parental involvement requirement for minors’ abortion in California 3. Discuss the strengths and challenges of using data on teen sexual activity and childbearing to inform decisions on public policy

Keywords: Abortion, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was responsible for conducting and presenting the research described in the abstract. I have multiple years experience conducting quantitative and qualitative studies focused on adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.