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Campaign for Teen Safety

California’s Proposition 4: Campaign for Teen Safety

prop 4

The Issue 
Parental notification was back on the California ballot in 2008 after Lake Research Partners helped defeat the same measure twice before in 2005 and 2006. These initiatives would have required young women under eighteen either to wait 48 hours after their parents had been notified or to navigate a judicial bypass process before obtaining an abortion. Proposition 4 would have also automatically triggered reports of child abuse when teen girls opted to notify alternate family members instead of their parents. The worst part about Proposition 4 is that it would have forced other girls to delay critical medical care and counseling, take measures into their own hands, or worse, while other girls would face abusive situations at home. In the end, this law would have put vulnerable teens at risk.

The Challenge 
Several wealthy conservative donors propelled this issue back onto the ballot, hoping to infringe on abortion rights and chip away at Roe vs. Wade under the guise of promoting family communication and providing teens with parental guidance.

Supporters of Proposition 4 – including Jim Holman, Don Sebastiani, Family Research Council, and Americans United for Life– mounted an aggressive and well-funded campaign.

The Outcome 
Proposition 4 was defeated by a four-point margin, guaranteeing that all teens, even those from abusive homes, will be able to access qualified doctors, nurses and counselors when they need them.

The Methodology 
The Campaign for Teen Safety, a diverse coalition including Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the ACLU, California NOW, NARAL and other organizations, saw the need to protect girls who would be put in real danger should this initiative pass. They hired Lake Research Partners to determine key audiences to target, devise messaging, test advertising, and collaborate in crafting a successful media strategy.

Initial surveys and focus groups showed we had to take the family communication argument head on. The media strategy we developed acknowledged the need for family communication but reminded voters that no law could mandate it.

The Team 
Lake Research Partners (Celinda LakeAlysia SnellCaitlin MurphyCate Gormley
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide 
Dewey Square Group

"Celinda Lake and her team were an integral part of the team we put together to fight - and ultimately beat - initiatives on parental notification for abortion in 2005, 2006 and 2008 in California. They conducted top-notch research, provided us with strategic advice on targeting and messaging, and responded quickly to requests throughout the course of the campaigns."

Kathy Kneer, President, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California