This week, I felt like I was in a bad novel from the last century.  You know the type – an archaic melodrama featuring a young girl ‘in trouble.”  Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from the days of black-market potions and back-alley abortions.  Maine has gone from having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country to one of the lowest.  Tragically, the extremist social conservatives seek to turn the clock back to a day when only the wealthy could obtain safe access to family planning services.  LD 31 would deny minors access to contraception or even treatment for a sexually transmitted disease without prior approval by a parent or guardian.  LD 746 would deny young people access to mental health counseling or substance abuse treatment when crisis occurs.  Together, LD 31 and LD 746 would scare young people away from the doctor’s office and into the arms of unscrupulous back alley dealers.  Social conservatives argue that the government can mandate that young people talk to their parents.  But anyone who has teenagers or remembers what it was like to be a teenager knows that no government action can force a young person to talk to their parents.  Indeed, for some young people it is not safe to talk to their parents about these issues or any issues.  Maine voters rejected an abortion ban in a 1999 referendum.  [Correction:  this blog post incorrectly identified the ban as a parental consent requirement previously.  The issue was late term abortion.] The Christian Civic League and Catholic Diocese are confident legislators will pass parental mandate laws this session.  If successful, LD 31 and LD 746 would make Maine the most restrictive state in the country.  No other state requires parental consent for contraception, and every other state allows treatment of an STD like HIV/AIDS.  If Maine voters don’t speak up, the social conservative groups might be right...and novels about young girls “in trouble” may make a comeback.  Take action today to contact your state legislator.  Already done so?  Ask a friend to join you in taking action.  It really matters.