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Child's play and the highest court

I've always thought of blogging as having a lot in common with talk radio, and I've tried to follow the example and advice of some talk-show hosts I've admired. And one of the greats was Jerry Williams, one of the pioneers of the format.

One thing Jerry said that has always stuck with me is that he would never do a show on abortion. He boycotted the topic, and he gave three reasons:

1) Everybody has an opinion on the topic;

2) No one is going to persuade anyone else to change their opinion;

3) Absolutely nothing new has been said on the topic for about 30 years.

I've always thought that profoundly true, and as such have avoided the topic here.

Until now.

The abortion issue is heading back to the Supreme Court, and this time it's over a New Hampshire law. A few years ago, the legislature passed a law requiring parental consent for a minor to have an abortion, with the only exceptions being with a court's permission or the life of the mother. Backers of the bill very deliberately skipped the "...or health" loophole, after seeing how in so many other states "health" was stretched to involve "emotional health" or other vague excuses, gutting the purpose of the law. They wanted this to be challenged in court, and now it's reaching the Supreme Court.

Over my life, I've been on both sides of this issue. When I was younger, I thought it an incredibly stupid policy -- if a family simply doesn't talk with each other, then it's no business of the government to force them to do so. It struck me as parents failing to properly oversee their children, and getting the government to back them up -- and that offended the libertarian in me, who didn't want to see the government playing such a key role in people's private lives.

But now, though, I'm reconsidering that position.

The most important thing for a government to be is consistent. Laws and enforcement must be predictable, for the sake of the people. They must know exactly what principles govern the laws, and how they are enforced, if they are to comply. Otherwise, our system of laws risks degenerating into chaos, anarchy, or tyranny -- we need only look at other countries to see the results.

As it stands now, the government is oriented towards reinforcing the bond between parent and child. Children cannot receive body piercings or tattoos without parental consent. Schools may not give children any medication whatsoever without the parents' approval -- not even an aspirin, in many cases. In divorce cases, the government decides who gets custody of the children, and how the non-custodial parent will support that child -- and enforces those decisions with the full force of the law.

Likewise, the government expects the parents to live up to those responsibilities. Parents are legally liable for the actions of their minor children -- if a child commits vandalism, for example, the parents are on the hook to make restitution. Children are required to wear seat belts when in a car, and if they don't, then the parents are cited. And parents that neglect their children are often arrested and punished.

So, in the eyes of the law, children aren't quite property of their parents, but they are legally an "extension" of the parents.

With that in mind, and setting aside the overall issue of abortion for adults, I have to say that I support the parental notification bill in New Hampshire. It's a logical extension of the other laws regarding parent-child relationships and responsibilities, and it has the necessary exceptions for extenuating circumstances.

And I hope the Roberts court will agree.


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Comments (78)

I agree.... (Below threshold)
epador:

I agree.

Without taking a stand for ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Without taking a stand for or against abortion, I'm curious how you reconcile your position with all the reasons proffered by pro choice advocates in favor of legalizing abortion?

You are correct in that states are charged with protecting minor children, and laws designed to do so are usually upheld. In this context, the question will be to what extent parental consent imposes a chilling effect on the "right to choose," and whether that "right" would be effectively extinguished in the context of a minor.

Putting that aside, I'm a bit baffled by your reasoning and the examples you cited. I think your piece would be much stronger if you simply resorted to the platitude that states are validly empowered to protect minor children from themselves, others, and even from their parents.

Do you really equate abortion with tattoos and piercings? Do 13-year-old kids really congregate outside abortion clinics and goad each other into plastering garish abortions all over their bodies? I'd say the decision-making processes are very different, the motivations are very different and the need for parental intervention is different.

Schools dispensing drugs: That rule is to protect children from having untrained lay people prescribe and administer potentially harmful medications without even the benefit of the student's medical chart. It is also to protect the school district from liability. Is that analagous to a physician administering an abortion after having done a complete workup on the patient? Nope.

Seatbelts: Jay, in most states it is the DRIVER (not necessarily the parent) who is cited when any passenger, whether adult or child, neglects to wear the seatbelt. Now bootstrap that in to a rationale for parental consent for abortions.

Parents are legally responsible for the actions of their minors? Hardly. There is some minor, extremely limited, liability in some instances, but by and large parents are not held responsible for their kids mistakes. But even if you were completely correct here, how does that support your argument for requiring parental consent for abortions?

I am pretty confident that ... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:

I am pretty confident that the SC will say the law violates the "super-duper precedent" that abortion has become, according to Arlan Specter.
The current make-up of the court is still as it was even when you factor in Roberts. Look for another of those fantasitc 5-4 decisions this current SC is famous for.

You pretty much own your ch... (Below threshold)
Radical Centrist:

You pretty much own your child until he is about 18 years of age. Their is no decision a child can make independent of the parent, why should a child be able to obtain an abortion without a parents consent?

What has also concerned me ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

What has also concerned me with these folks who feel parental consent should be optional - what happens if a minor has an abortion unbeknownst to her parents and then complications occur that require significant medical intervention?

Yep, I'm voting for CA's <a... (Below threshold)

Yep, I'm voting for CA's Prop 73 Parental notification law.

Mark? Notice the word notification not permission.

I have two main points vis a vis why parents should be notified.

1) Too many young girls, say 13 or 14, are impregnated by males in their 20's. Allowing abortion without parents knowing is to aid in a crime (illegal sexual intercourse with a minor).

2) We generally should not make laws based on exceptions. Society and law already reflect that we default to a parent's judgement on how to raise children absent any evidence that a parent is unfit in particular cases to raise a child. There is little to argue for reversing such a stance in case of abortion except for political reasons.

oh! to add a third point</p... (Below threshold)

oh! to add a third point

if said minor girl is contemplating an abortion, why is everyone around her get to influence her (opinions of peers and impregnator) except her own parents?

I'm curious what Mark's jus... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

I'm curious what Mark's justification would be for not requiring parental consent for a minor's abortion. I'm responsible for my children's welfare while they're minors, along with their mother, so how is the decision on whether or not to have an abortion not a part of that welfare?

Because some small minority of parents are unfit to be parents, and therefore their consent should be replaced by that of a judge, I and all my fellow capable and responsible parents are excluded from a very important decision, should a minor daughter become pregnant.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, Mark.

Darleen,Thanks for... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Darleen,

Thanks for helping me read. "Notification" is certainly different from "permission."

Or, is it? I suspect a key motivator with kids is simply avoiding the wrath of their parents. Chill and chill alike, I guess.

I'm a parent, I want to know everything about my kids. From that perspective, I support the law. I'm just saying I suspect the "notification" law will endure rocky times ahead, and I'm saying Jay didn't promote any compelling arguments to help the cause.

Hmmm.Frankly the e... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Frankly the entire basis of not notifying the parents is based on the absurd notion that it somehow enables abuse or will put the girl into harm.

If we really have such a massive epidemic of parental child rape, impregnation and abortion going on that justifies this crap, then someone needs to actually prove this rather just making ridiculous charges.

IMHO there is no justification for not notifying the parents of a minor child seeking an abortion. Nor is there any justification for said parents not being asked for their permission.

But what the hell. It's a *Republican* Supreme Court so all is well right?

Boyd,Where did I e... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Boyd,

Where did I ever say I didn't support the law?

I'm just saying its inconsistent with most arguments proffered in favor of "choice." Notice I never even said where I come down on choice/abortion, so so you can't even infer whether I support those arguments.

So tell me, Boyd; where did I fail to make sense?

Boyd ingnorantly asked:... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Boyd ingnorantly asked:

"I'm curious what Mark's justification would be for not requiring parental consent for a minor's abortion."

Boyd, I am not here to proffer "justification" since I am not advocating anything. However, I will give you just one example of an argument proferred by others (not me) in favor of legalizing abortion that could arguably be defeated by the parental notification rule. Its an argument born of pragmatism, and we've already seen examples where parental notification rules have failed that argument.

Remember the spectre of illegal back alley abortions with coat hangers? Wasn't that a major argument in favor of legalization? Well, kids who live in fear of their parents will go to great lengths to hide or eliminate pregnancies they fear their parents will deem shameful. Many would prefer to take matters in their own hands rather than shame their parents, and we've seen examples of this.

I think one example was raised in a blog (here?) several months ago. There, a boy was convicted of some degree of manslaughter or murder for killing a fetus inside his girl friend. Together, the boy and girl beat the crap out of her abdomen until the fetus was dead. The girl consented to the beating, but the boy was convicted. Perhaps this is the type of harmful and risky behavior opponents of parental notification or permission are seeking to avoid.

Now Boyd, before you flame me, notice that I am not advocating a position here. I am not justifying anything. I'm merely applying logic to some arguments expressed by others who support abortion. If you buy into those arguments, as the Supreme Court has in part, then I'm sure you can see how the parental notification laws would at least partially conflict with those stated goals.

Not only do I want parental... (Below threshold)
John:

Not only do I want parental notification before an abortion, I also want to be notified if my daughter is pregnant and has made a preliminary decision to carry to term. I want to be of counsel either way.

Hell, I wanna be notified that they are about to have sex so I can counsel before that too.

None of the above statements are made in defense of any law requiring notification. Notification should be voluntary. If the girls are afraid, for whatever reason, to confide in their parents about matters of this import, then required notification will in most cases not be in the best interest of either party.

I'm bored for the moment, s... (Below threshold)
Mark:

I'm bored for the moment, so let's explore Boyd's reading comprehension:

Boyd said:

"Because some small minority of parents are unfit to be parents, and therefore their consent should be replaced by that of a judge, I and all my fellow capable and responsible parents are excluded from a very important decision, should a minor daughter become pregnant.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, Mark."

Now, I would like to see a show of hands from anyone who thinks I said anything even remotely along these lines. No hands? I thought not.

Perhaps I should not throw stones considering Darleen's exposure of my own reading failures. But at least I didn't make up ridiculous shit and attribute it to other commenters.

Mark: "Do you really equat... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Mark: "Do you really equate abortion with tattoos and piercings? Do 13-year-old kids really congregate outside abortion clinics and goad each other into plastering garish abortions all over their bodies?"

Huh?

I've got a daughter who wants piercings. Are you trying to say that piercings are more serious a matter than abortion? That it makes *sense* to require parental permission for her to get holes in her ears, but doesn't make sense to require parental permission for a major medical procedure?

"I'd say the decision-making processes are very different, the motivations are very different and the need for parental intervention is different."

Frankly, other than the preservation of parental authority, I see no real need for there to be restrictions on piercings or tattoos. They are often ugly, but so? The issue of parental authority is not a *different* thing at all. I'm responsible for my children. With that responsibility *must* be authority. One demands the other, or I can't do my job. I tell my kids that my job is to teach/protect/care for them and that *their* job is to cooperate with me. Our laws and our courts need to promote the authority of parents if they expect to demand the responsibility of parents. Jay Tea very rightly brings up the legal liabilities parents face.

On a purely pro-life stand, often as not, the person driving the minor to the clinic is a parent, and quite frankly, there's no reason at all to think that those minors who are driven to the clinic by mom and dad have *chosen* an abortion for themselves. This definately goes both ways.

The whole *point* is that minors are not considered competent to do a whole load of things (though actual competence is individual) they can't sign contracts, they can't get piercings, go on field trips, join the military, or submit themselves to elective surgery. If they are competent to make a choice as serious as getting an abortion then what possible rationale is there to prevent them from making any other possible choice about any other possible issue in their lives?

The idea that we should hav... (Below threshold)
Synova:

The idea that we should have inconsistant rules for different things because we have different goals for different things is a bunch of BS.

We have principles of freedom, autonomy, etc. that we adhere to because they are more important as concepts than whatever inconvienience is caused by them. Should we throw out privacy just because it would make the police's job much easier not to have to get warrents?

When we talk about Rights we talk about those things that we *must* take for granted and that must, if the government has a need to violate them, *must* be proven to be not only necessary but also done in the least intrusive way.

When it comes to homeschooling, despite unpopularity, strong legal attacks from schools, and a proven interest by the State in ensuring that children are educated, the law came down on the side of the Rights of parents. The proven interest of the State wasn't enough to compel classroom attendance because the *State* also had to prove it could meet that interest in no other way.

If parents actually have any Rights *at all* it is not enough to say that we've got this *goal* and so we get to dump parental rights down the loo.

Synova,I don't dis... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Synova,

I don't disagree with you about the need for parental supervision of minors, and you're entirely correct about their lack of legal "competence" to make many types of decisions that can bind them throughout their lives. I seriously doubt anyone (except my teenage daughter at the moment) would disagree with that.

And, no. I'm certainly not saying piercings and tattoos are more important than abortions. I'm saying they're very DIFFERENT. So different, that Jay's use of one to support the other is very weak.

Part of my point was that Jay's piece would be more convincing if he didn't use the unnecessary, and weak, examples to support his conclusion. There's nothing wrong with saying, "kids need supervision, damn it!" and leave it at that.

But while we're at it, I do think there is a greater RISK (not to be confused with greater HARM) in the realm of tattoos. People often get tattooed on a whim, and often as a result of peer pressure. Tattoos are basically permanent, and anyone who's tried laser removal will agree. So, there is a high risk of fivolous tattoos with little attendant contemplation or thought. That's exactly the type of behavior teenagers are often protected from, and for good reason.

Now do you really consider abortions in the same realm? For the same reasons? I don't. I do think parental supervision is important, and I hope my girls will come to me if they get in trouble. I'm not convinced minors are equipped to know what is right for them in this regard. But abortions are not usually done on a whim, and certainly not as a result of peer pressure. I think even minors put a great deal of thought and soul searching into these types of decisions. I'm not saying minors should be given the absolute right to make this decision, I'm merely saying the tattoo analogy is not fitting.

Although, perhaps the piercing example can be bootstrapped into an example of the back alley abortion. My 15-year-old can't get piercings without our permission, but we let her have a few in her ears. We have witheld our permission a few times, as well. For that, we were rewarded with her learning to pierce herself in the bathroom with safety pins, which she has done several times. Fortuately, after we reminded her who's supposed to be in charge, she agreed to take out the studs and let the holes grow in. But still, the permission requirement creates a self-help industry. You decide whether you want that for abortions.

Should a parent have the <i... (Below threshold)
John:

Should a parent have the right to force their 17 year-old to carry a pregancy to term?

To expand on Synova's point... (Below threshold)
AkBigBoy:

To expand on Synova's point - which I agree with - The SCOTUS has also held that minors cannot be executed for murders they commit. The reasoning, as I paraphrase it, was that they don't have the necessary maturity to fully understand the consequences of their actions, and therefore should not be held to the same standards an adult would be who commited the same crime.

So, according to the state, my daughter can not take an aspirin, get a tattoo, or have an ear pierced without my permission. If she murders someone she gets a mulligan - all this because the government recognizes that she's too young to understand and fully evaluate the implications of these decisions - yet she can get an abortion and possibly incur life threatening complications from it and by law (in some states) not only do I have no right to know about it, but people could be severely punished for telling me about it anyway because it would violate her privacy ??

It does not make a whole lot of sense from Jay's consistency perspective. (Which I also agree with).

If the girls are afraid,... (Below threshold)

If the girls are afraid, for whatever reason, to confide in their parents about matters of this import, then required notification will in most cases not be in the best interest of either party.

John, what if those reasons are unreasonable? What if those reasons are not the girl's own, but those of her impregnator, or the impregnator's parents or her girlfriends or even a "trusted" teacher who have their own agendas on what is "right" for this girl? Why do they all get a say in persuading her but her parents don't? If her parent(s) are truly abusive, she has a judicial "out" and getting abortion money machines like Planned Parenthood to "counsel" the girls thusly won't be a big stretch.

Mark

Do 13-year-old kids really congregate outside abortion clinics and goad each other into plastering garish abortions all over their bodies?"

No, but as I've stated before, there are loads of people ready to goad a pregnant 13 y/o into an abortion for lots of self-serving reasons having nothing to do what is in the best interest of the 13 y/o.

AkBigBoy,You make ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

AkBigBoy,

You make a great argument that has a ton of superficial appeal. I can't say I disagree with it either.

However, you've gotta concede that the argument does ignore several factors that put abortion in a different category from aspirin, tattoos and piercings. Teenage pregnancies come chock full of built-in stigmas, parental shame, tabboo, and other shit that motivates kids to hide or eliminate them. Is there any other teenage issue that is as emotionally charged? Now combine that with the risk of permanent physical harm or death attendant with back alley abortions or having your boyfriend beat the shit out of your abdomen. What's the source of all this risk? Parental notification.

I can easily see how some advocate an exception for the general parental notification/advice/consent theme. I'm not saying I do, I'm just saying there are issues to address.

Oh, and on Jay's consistency perspective, you also have to admit he's ignoring all the inconsistencies in his argument. What about the parent's ability to obtain their child's medical chart? Ever tried that, Jay? How about getting kids tested for drugs or other things without a teenager's consent--can't do it. Nope, teenagers have some pretty strong statutory rights to privacy that parents need a court order to pierce. Abortion fits perfectly within those rights, and they are entirely consistent. Not saying I'm happy about that, just saying one should not cherry pick items under the guise of "consistency."

OK, let's talk about consis... (Below threshold)
John:

OK, let's talk about consistency then.

Right now more than half the states which require parental notification of abortion do permit a minor to obtain prenatal care and deliver a baby without notification of a parent.

Once the baby is delivered by the minor, many states recognize the minors competency to make decisions about the health and welfare of the child.

What about other reproductive health services? Should a parent have the right to know when their minor child seeks access to contraceptives or treatment of STD's? The answer is, in mosts states, no.

I maintain that reproductive health services other than abortion are more pertinent analogous issues than tattoos and piercings.

Sorry for being "ingnorant,... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Sorry for being "ingnorant," Mark. I'm not sure why you have to descend into ad hominem, but if that's what floats your boat, have at it.

Extending rights to children without parental notification or consultation or anything else is usually not in the best interests of the child. As the seriousness of the issue increases, the greater the need for parental involvement. So for something as serious as abortion, unless the parent has been or can be proved to be unfit, parents should be centrally involved in the issue.

And Mark, please accept my abject apology for imputing arguments from "the other side" to your comments. I made the error folks frequently make in these kinds of discussions, both written and oral, of pigeonholing people based on prior conversations. And please, please, please forgive me for being "ingnorant" and for being a poor reader. In fact, I can't figure out why I haven't already been banned from Wizbang for such an "ingnorant" commenter.

Maybes I's should git me sum mor lirnin afore I tries to taak on a smart man lik u.

John,I have a tatt... (Below threshold)
Mark:

John,

I have a tattoo of an IUD on my shoulder, does that count? It's a Copper 7.

Boyd,"Sorry for be... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Boyd,

"Sorry for being "ingnorant," Mark. I'm not sure why you have to descend into ad hominem, but if that's what floats your boat, have at it."

Ok, guilty of more than just misspelling. Sorry for that. Your post suggested that you were gonna be one of those who doesn't read or reason, but love to attack 'cause ya can. Obviously I was wrong, I over reacted, and that was unfair. I apologize.

As for pigeonholing based on other threads, I'm trying to remember your previous comments. I think I pigeonholed you as a rational thinker, and not ingorant or whatever I typed.

As for me, good luck. You could find me all over the map, whether I agree with the positions I foist, or disagree. But whatever my true feelings, nothing riles me more than someone proffering an argument for "consistency" when in doing so they intentionally cherrypick around all the inconsistencies that exist. You didn't do that, Jay did. I'm just explaining why I argue with Jay, even when I might agree with his conclusions. For me, taking a valid route is as important as getting to the proper destination.

MarkThe girl that ... (Below threshold)

Mark

The girl that had her impregnator beat her for seven weeks rather than using the judicial option is an extreme example. I could find such for every law on the books. However, we don't formulate laws that way. In the best of circumstances all law is weighed on societal best interest. Do we allow all minors girls who get pregnant full access to abortions sans parents based on that singular horrendous case you cite? Do we not consider the circumstances under which the girl got pregnant? In the balance, will the law do more good or harm?

@Mark:Good, then. ... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

@Mark:

Good, then. We can move on to other matters.

Oh, and just for clarity's sake, my mistake was pigeonholing you based on arguments made by others, which included some of the points you were making (not consistency, but the others you mentioned to make your point about consistency), not based on your past comments. I don't have that good of a memory. :)

Anyhoo, we're good here. Everybody move along. Nothing to see (or read) here, folks. Go find the Sun in New England or something.

Darleen,You bet it... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Darleen,

You bet it's extreme. How common is it? I dunno. How common were those back alley abortions? I dunno. All I know is that pro-"choice" people touted the alley issue, and I foresee a parallel argument from more modern times. If the powers that be bought into the alley argument, I'm just saying they'll have a hard time avoiding the pummelled abdomen example (and whatever similar examples there may be).

So, we've got some things to weigh.

On one hand, all of society has a huge interest in parents being responsible for their kids, and for counselling them and guiding them and teaching them and making them be all they can be. Parent's can't do that unless they know what their kids are going through. This is undisputed, I think (except by teenagers, but give them a few years and they'll come around.)

On the other hand, we have some examples of reality. I think this is changing as parents get a bit more sophisticated, but historically, kids did not come to dogmatic parents when they were pregnant. Many parents and families reacted poorly (and they still do when you consider "honor" killings among muslims.) So they do stupid things to avoid the shame. The potential for these stupid things to be harmful is very high.

Arguably, the first consideration is more idealistic, while the second is more pragmatic. What should the law reflect? Idealism or pragmatism? Let's not kid ourselves that either choice will reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy.

Isn't it arguable that mandating parental involvement could lead to some disasterous results, whereas the availability of anonymous, but safe, abortions could save lives? If you're gonna err, on which side would you like that error? I hope it's on the side that promotes the safety of your kids.

Ok, now all the slippery slope people can pounce and claim that I advocate free pornos and condoms and vibrators and butt plugs to be passed out in school and church.

Ever so true. The la... (Below threshold)
ron:


Ever so true. The laws have become mush. Not only is it virtually impossible to be in complete obedience of the law but most people on a daily basis are in disobedience of one thing or another. Over complicated and vague, the law makers without thought(apparently)have made it impossible for law enforcement and citizens alike.

It is no laughing matter when a person commits a murder with his bare hands get's caught and is charged with about 20 violations of the law. What kind of crap is that? One law broken one charge thats all. The rest is just an expensive dog pile.

The legislatures could probably get rid of ten's of thousands of laws and we wouldn't even notice. Uh-maybe we would. We would be freer.

John says:"OK, let... (Below threshold)
Mark:

John says:

"OK, let's talk about consistency then."

Don't ya just love it when someone shows up with some actual facts? Great post.

Isn't it arguable that m... (Below threshold)

Isn't it arguable that mandating parental involvement could lead to some disasterous results, whereas the availability of anonymous, but safe, abortions could save lives?

It is just as arguable the other way, Mark. Or are you unaware of minors dying from "legal, safe" abortions?

Since the incident all all death from legal abortions (and there hasn't been a death from "illegal" abortion in years) is a very small percentage of all abortions, then we are arguing about minors and how far we, as a society, allow them to be autonomous. For instance, the whole juvenile court system was set up to take children out of the adult court system and to offer them a chance at rehabilitation -- society recognizing that immaturity and a lack of consideration of consequences on the part of the minor spoke to the courts taking a parental role in cases of minor crime. The exception being that when a crime reaches a certain level of heinousness and the juvenile perpetator premeditates his/her action, we remand that juvenile into the adult system. These juvies tried as adults are the exception and we still default all juvies first to the juvie court system.

The whole struggle over minor girls having autonomy over their own bodies came from a rather cynical approach to family dynamics. It was a political decision rather than one dealing strictly with a pragmatic health approach. If girls were to be "available" for sex, then they had to be properly "served" ..first by telling them they should follow the male example of how to approach sex (girls and boys are the same the meme goes) then rather then missing all that fun, it was/is up to the girl to take all the steps to avoid consequences.

Adult women have every right to conduct their sex lives as they see fit. Minor girls, until emancipation, are the responsibility of their parents. And when the law usurps that responsibility, the law is an ass.

I don't think anyone here i... (Below threshold)
John:

I don't think anyone here is arguing that, on balance, it's worse for the parents to be involved. In fact, most teenage pregnancies involve the parents counsel, regardless of the governments wishes. The law is not usurping anything.

Do you believe that parental notification laws should require that both parents be notified?(assuming they are alive and can be contacted)

How about an aunt or an uncle, is that OK? How about the notification of disinterested third party adult, would that work?

The teenage birth rate in the US is the highest in the developed world: twice as high as Canada, 2.5 times as high as Australia, 4x Germany, 5x France, 9x as high as Japan. Why is this? Reasons cited are lack of mandatory, medically acccurate sex ed programs, difficult access to contraception and reproductive health care, and yes, lack of support to access confidential services and accurate information.

So, do you think mandatory notifiation laws make this problem worse, or better?

Darleen, I'm trying to foll... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Darleen, I'm trying to follow you here.

Don't we have to strip from the argument all things related to getting pregnant? And, don't we have to strip from the argument all things related to the propriety of adult abortions? Like it or not, we have teenage pregnancies, and abortion is legal. That's our starting point and we can't reargue those points here. Now we're just talking about parental notice.

I don't know the stats on health risks of legal abortions perfomed by physicians. I don't know the stats concerning the frequencies of illegal abortions, or their health-related consequences. I suspect illegal is worse than legal, as a whole.

One theme through this thread is Jay's "consistency" argument which I don't buy into. Above, John clearly illustrated the consistent treatment pregnant teenage mothers are afforded by the law, and it runs in favor of personal autonomy rather than parental intervention. I listed two quick examples concerning teenagers' right to privacy in the medical realm, and they too run in favor of the kid. So, in the realm of physical autonomy over the teenage body, and privacy rights related thereto, it seems the parental "notification" laws are more inconsistent with analogous issues rather than consistent.

I agree with John that the medical/gestational analogies are far more valid than the tattoo/piercing/aspirin/capital crime examples. Most states already have laws in place that severely restrict a parent's intrusion in those areas.

That said, I'll repeat what I've said all along. I am a parent and I want to be involved in every step. I am frustrated with the laws that limit my ability to do so. I hope I have been a reasonable and rational parent, and I hope my kids will confide in me if they are ever confronted with these issues. Hopefully they won't need to.

On the other hand, I've dated girls with parents who would probably rather see their kid disappear from the Earth instead of admitting they got pregnant. Because people like that exist, I can live with the laws granting privacy to kids. If I do my job right, they won't mess up and, if they do, they'll know I still love them and will help them.

I've had a glass of wine, s... (Below threshold)
Mark:

I've had a glass of wine, so consider this:

We're all great parents, right? We're not the ones who judge and condemn, right? We're the ones who are devoted to teaching and helping, and we've fostered open communication so our kids aren't afraid to share their problems with us. Cool. The parental notification laws won't even affect us, because our kids will have already sought our advice.

Who would the law serve? Only the parents who instill such an unhealthy fear in their kids that they can't communicate. Only the kids who would be ostracized from their families. Only the kids whose 20 minute lapse of hormonal judgment would deprive them from any serviceable relationship with their parents. You know the ones--not only do they disown their kids, but they tell them they'll rot in hell forever.

Frankly, my glass of wine just chose sides for me. Fuck the judgmental asshole who laden their kids with guilt for perpetuity. Kids need protection from them--and the parental notification laws exacerbate that need.

For the rest of us, the law will make no difference, right?

"trusted" teacher who ha... (Below threshold)
John:

"trusted" teacher who have their own agendas on what is "right" for this girl?

I breezed right by that one without considering it's meaning. What do you mean by agenda? If a pregnant teen for whatever reason does not want to tell her parents she's pregnant and instead seeks out the counsel of a trusted teacher, what possible agenda could motivate the teacher to offer advice detrimental to the girl's well-being?

I know alot of teachers, and I can't think of a single one who would let an agenda get in the way of honest counseling when asked for it. Obviously, the first question out of the teacher's mouth will invariably be "Have you talked to your folks about it?" which opens up a dialog about the true reasons she wants to keep the fact from her parents in the first place.

John,I think this ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

John,

I think this reveals most of where Darleen is coming from:

"and getting abortion money machines like Planned Parenthood to "counsel" the girls thusly won't be a big stretch."

She's just anti-abortion (not that there's anything wrong with that). She seems to be viewing Jay's question as just another front to fight abortions as a whole, rather than isolating Jay's parental notification question and dealing with it honestly. Until she can accept for the purpose of arguement that abortion is currently a right, she won't be able to honestly and coherently address the parental notification thing.

Oh, and before I'm labelled... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Oh, and before I'm labelled as some pro-fetus killer, let me confide this:

I was adopted at birth. I found my biological mother when I was 34 and I've had several conversations about her personal choice. We're good friends now.

While I often wished as I was growing up that she had aborted me, I now look into my own kids eyes, and see how the world around them appreciates and loves their existence. My bio-mom's choice benefitted the world, in my not-so-humble opinion. My kids today are proof that abortion would have been the wrong choice for my mother back in 1959.

Mark,I agree that ... (Below threshold)
AkBigBoy:

Mark,

I agree that abortion is in a different category than aspirin, tattoos and such. I do not agree with the whole social stigma thing – that may have been true 20 or even 10 years ago but not now. Stable two parent families are no longer the rule, and in my view there is little or no societal stigma associated with either premarital sex or teen pregnancy. As far as parental shame – dude honestly as a society we’re closer to Marilyn Manson than Ozzie and Harriet. Sure teen pregnancy is emotionally charged, so is pretty much everything associated with sex. The pregnancy and abortion thing is not unique in this regard, nor should it be treated as such.

As far as the risk of physical harm – yep, pregnancy definitely has that. So does elective surgery, a category that includes most abortions currently performed in this country. You raise a good point about the medical records thing, but that cuts both ways. I can’t see my daughters medical record for her appendectomy – but the hospital could not have performed it without my permission. All I’m asking for is the same consideration when it comes to abortion. Sure there are issues to address – when aren’t there? ( I mean honestly my school district is in the middle of a major political fight right now over vending machines – I personally think about 30% of all the fights we have in politics are just because people are bored and looking for an excuse to mix it up – heck that’s why I’m posting on this thread !.)

AKBigBoy,I kinda h... (Below threshold)
Mark:

AKBigBoy,

I kinda hope your first paragraph is accurate (as far as it reflects tolerance), even tho most here would probably view that as a decline in civilization. I just want the kids protected, even if parents think their "ownership" rights are infringed. Too many parents are just fucked up kids that grew older.

Where in AK are you from? I was born and raised in Juneau.

Jay said:As it stand... (Below threshold)
Fran:

Jay said:
As it stands now, the government is oriented towards reinforcing the bond between parent and child. Children cannot receive body piercings or tattoos without parental consent. Schools may not give children any medication whatsoever without the parents' approval -- not even an aspirin, in many cases. In divorce cases, the government decides who gets custody of the children, and how the non-custodial parent will support that child -- and enforces those decisions with the full force of the law.

I think the law is consistent. Think of the divorce issue. The govt intervenes with the intention of helping 2 opposed parties solve the problem with as little disruption as possible.

1. The law always makes distinctions of priority.
2. No priority for tatoos.
3. Abortion...there is the possibility of another life.

The law makes this choice balancing the needs of all parties...mother, father and daughter.

It is not pretty, but it's the best we got.

On paper...no law should interfere with a family's choices.

The idea of the state making medical decisions...

...reminds me of Schiavo.

Why, oh why does the party of less govt always want to get into managing people's lives?

To all the parents who want... (Below threshold)
Fran:

To all the parents who want notification:

It's a shame your daughter isn't aware of birth control, and the risks associated with unprotected sex.

If you want a perfect world...just wait...I'm sure the nest disaster will bring the 2nd coming.

Don't forget:

A minor(a function of age), who is pregnant, has made a decision that can result in adult consequences.

Parental notification requi... (Below threshold)

Parental notification requirements do not only affect those kids whose parents will react objectionably if their kid gets pregnant.
Good parents sometimes have kids who get sucked into a bad crowd- the father of the baby may very well be coercing her into getting an abortion- especially if, as so often happens, the father is an adult and the mother is a minor child.
Ear piercing: you cannot argue on the one hand that piercing ears is not enough like having an abortion to make it a good analogy and then use it as an analogy for your own point- i.e. it is inconsistant to use the fact that your daughter pierced her own ears when you forbade further legal ear piercings as a point of evidence indicating it's a bad thing to require parental notification when you already pointed out how different the two actions are.

Notifying parents and other relatives- the reason

Illegal Abortions- those coathanger myth- Abortion is almost _always_ an elective procedure, and surgery is riskier than childbirth. Most people can carry a baby to full term with out risking their lives. People do die from legal abortion, and they suffer long term health problems sometimes, too.

Abortion is a blind surgical procedure- in most cases the doctor takes a sharp instrument and scrapes out the contents of a delicate and sensitive body organ that he cannot see- and my minor child is not up to making the decision to go through a procedure like this without input from the parent who will have to take her to the emergency room if she begins bleeding and care for her if she suffers a perforated uterus. I'm the mother- I am the one who has born responsibility for this child and will be responsible for her care- I am her legal guardian. That is another reason why I should be notified before she receives major surgery- and why it's a red herring to ask about aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Legal Guardians should be notified.

The idea that 'many' women died from illegal abortions before Roe V. Wade is, to put it baldly, a pro-choice myth. Mostly, women just did not have abortions. They carried their babies to term and kept them or they placed them for adoption. Those that did have illegal abortions survived them at about the same rates they do now. The thing is that many of the same people performing those few illegal abortions before Roe V. Wade simply went into business publicly and legally post-Roe V. Wade. Their methods didn't get any safer or cleaner just because now they didn't have to worry about getting caught.
Women die and died in about the same rates whether the abortion is illegal or legal. They died and die of perforated colons, they bled and bleed to death, they got and get infections- one woman dying this way is one woman who should not have died, but since the numbers are pretty much the same both pre and post Roe v. Wade, it's not accurate to say that many women died of illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade, unless you follow that up with the equally accurate statement, 'and about the same number die from legal abortions after Roe v. Wade.'

In the July 1960 edition of... (Below threshold)

In the July 1960 edition of the American Journal of Public Health, an article by Dr. Mary Calderon, then medical director of Planned Parenthood, stated:

"90% of illegal abortions are being done by physicians. Call them what you will, abortionists, or anything else, they are still physicians, trained as such; ... They must do a pretty good job if the death rate is as low as it is... Abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous, because it is being done well by physicians."

Sigh- I accidentally snippe... (Below threshold)

Sigh- I accidentally snipped where I did not mean to- I meant to also say that the reason it is reasonable to notify parents but not aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, etc is that parents are presumably the legal guardians. They are the ones who will have to get the girl back to E.R. if she starts in with complications. They are the ones who will have to pay the medical bills for said complications. They are the ones who will be dealing with a wounded child and they have a right to try to prevent further wounding to her if they can.

Parental notification is not getting the government into managing people's lives- it's getting people who do not belong in the equation out of my daughter's life. You can't come to my daughter and talk her into selling you her car, contracting for her labor, or having cosmetic surgery without parental involvement (or legal guardian involvement) for her own protection. She can't contract a marriage, inmost cases, without parental approval (or at all in other cases).
Protecting children from being exploited by adults is not the government managing their lives- it's the government siding with parents against those would and could exploit children adn then walk away from the results.

Mark said:"However... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Mark said:

"However, you've gotta concede that the argument does ignore several factors that put abortion in a different category from aspirin, tattoos and piercings. Teenage pregnancies come chock full of built-in stigmas, parental shame, tabboo, and other shit that motivates kids to hide or eliminate them. Is there any other teenage issue that is as emotionally charged?"

Yes, I would agree pregnancy pretty much would be one of the most traumatic things that could happen to a teenage girl. So if it ever happens to my daughter I definitely want to shove my head up my ass and let the state deal with it.


Deputy,You're tota... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Deputy,

You're totally right about my hypocritical use of the ear piercing. However, I hoped it would be received as the spirit of ironic afterthought from which it evolved. It certainly was not meant to be the core of any argument. You got me there.

I've already conceded that I don't know the stats concerning risks of legal abortions/ illegal abortions/ or natural child birth. But the typical D&C is about as routine a typical bikini wax. Lets not overhype the dangers here.

Also, the coathanger is NOT a myth--that's still going on today. Lets not underhype that aspect.

I really don't get your argument about "children being exploited by adults." Who exploits kids to have abortions? Why? Adoption would solve everything a putative father has to fear--the burden is on the putative mother. So who makes the decision? I think it's nearly always the kid, and rightly so.

Fran brings up a good point. So many here are against the "Nanny State," excessive red tape, and an overly populated and complicated legal system. That is, unless it suits their religious preference.

Most of you are not arguing "parental notification." Rather, most of you are arguing "pro-life." That latter argument wasn't posed by Jay or anyone else, now was it?

Come on people, if you're gonna argue, at least strive for intellectual honesty.

B. Moe:"Yes, I wou... (Below threshold)
Mark:

B. Moe:

"Yes, I would agree pregnancy pretty much would be one of the most traumatic things that could happen to a teenage girl. So if it ever happens to my daughter I definitely want to shove my head up my ass and let the state deal with it."

Where did I advocate shoving your head up your ass or letting the state deal with it? Either you and your daughter have a relationship of trust where she feels she can share with you and you can help, or she's scared to death of you and your knowledge will scar her even worse for life. If the former is true, you're in the loop. If the latter is true, you'll probably do more harm than good.

"Either you and your daught... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

"Either you and your daughter have a relationship of trust where she feels she can share with you and you can help, or she's scared to death of you and your knowledge will scar her even worse for life. If the former is true, you're in the loop. If the latter is true, you'll probably do more harm than good."

That is fairly obvious, the question is who makes the decision? Either the parent is responsible for the child or the state is.

How many abortion doctors can dance on the head of a teenager?


Parental notification is... (Below threshold)
John:

Parental notification is not getting the government into managing people's lives- it's getting people who do not belong in the equation out of my daughter's life.

Yeah, right. Like the boyfriend, friends, teacher(s), friends' parents, boyfriend's parents, cool aunts and uncles and the frickin school nurse are gonna whoosh disappear if parental notification laws exist. The troubled teen will continue to listen to all points of view, and summarily discount the "'rents" opinion because, well, they're the "'rents."

Should parents have the right to force their 17 year-old to carry a pregancy to term?

?

?

crickets chirping.

?

Wanna give your kid the bes... (Below threshold)
John:

Wanna give your kid the best chance of living out of poverty?

George Will in recent column lists three not-at-all recondite rules for such:

1)Graduate from high school

2)Don't have a baby until you're married

3)Don't get married while you're a teenager.

Among people who obey those rules, poverty is minimal.

So, tell me, how do parental notification laws help us parents with this job?

The entire problem with thi... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

The entire problem with this subject is that SCOTUS imposed abortion across the board for all of us. I have my personal beliefs about it, as do all of you. But matters like these should be determined at the polls on the state level. Not in the courts.

Once the state makes a law about it, then courts can decide cases based on the laws that exist. And; no matter what you might say or think; each pregnancy is individual and rules cannot apply "accross the board" for everyone. So, I do believe that parents should be notified and involved in a childs "circumstances".

This might make some of you a little mad but this is what I and my family believe: We do not believe that a fetus becomes human, or has a soul, until it "takes the breath of life". Until then it is just a living mass of tissue. Now, I do not really know if this belief is right or wrong, but it is what I believe. So, to me abortion is not an important issue. I will know for sure when I meet my maker.

For me, the abortion issue is the blatant disregard for the constitution the courts committed with Roe vs Wade. Completely unconstitutional in my opinion.

Also, I would not presume t... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

Also, I would not presume to impose my beliefs on anyone. This stuff is very personal to anyone who might find themselves faced with such a difficult decision. I simply cannot accept the idea that 9 people can impose their beliefs upon everyone in the entire country. I guess that makes me Pro Choice. Dam, this is a very difficult subject for everyone. I wish I knew for sure one way or the other.

Please excuse me for so man... (Below threshold)
NtvAmrcn:

Please excuse me for so many posts, but I wanted to add; my beliefs are very difficult, being the hard core conservative that I am. It seems directly opposed to the party platform. Still, I believe what I believe, just like all of you.

"Should parents have the ri... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

"Should parents have the right to force their 17 year-old to carry a pregancy to term?"

Should 17 be granted the rights of full adulthood then? Would you be asking the question of 16 year olds if that happened?

If something goes wrong and your daughter is rushed to the emergency room the parents would now be required to be there for her treatment, no? Should we do away with this provision? Should all medical care be left up to the minor and her friends?

The underlying assertion seems to be that because some parents aren't competent, we need to turn important decisions over to the state, or leave them to the children.

B.Moe:"The underly... (Below threshold)
Mark:

B.Moe:

"The underlying assertion seems to be that because some parents aren't competent, we need to turn important decisions over to the state, or leave them to the children."

I'm not sure what you think is being turned over to the state. In fact, I think the issue is about limiting the state's ability to interfere with the relationship between daughters and parents such that pregnant daughters are forced to divulge information that might be very private and embarrassing, when the simple revealing of that information could be very damaging to to the daughter. Maybe the kid does know best about whether her parents should be included.

So, what can a parent do once they're notified? They can't turn back time and prevent the pregnancy. They can confort, counsel and help, or they can judge, scold and punish. If the kid can't yet drive, they can drive to and from prenatal care or the abortion clinic. But should the parent make the daughter's decision for her?

Unwanted pregnancies are big issues for anybody. But only the pregnant one truly has to live with her decision for the rest of her life. Not parents, not boyfriends, not church leaders. Until and unless Roe is overturned, the decision resides solely with the the girl. And, I think the issue is sober enough that a 14-year-old is capable of seeking advice from those she trusts, and making a sound decision. Isn't it better for her to live the rest of her life with her own decision, rather than forcing her to spend the rest of her life with someone else's decision?

Everything else of import a... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Everything else of import a child does is subject to the approval of the parent, as mandated by the state. If the state makes a decision to grant an exemption for abortion, then the state has taken responsiblity of the child from the parents. I really don't see why I have to keep repeating this, it seems obvious to me.

It also seems obvious to me that if a child is incapable of voting, marriage, driving or anything else without adult guidance and permission, they should have guidance and permission on a decision that as you say is going to live with them, and possible haunt them, the rest of their lives. That adult should be their parents.


B.Moe:Aren't we ta... (Below threshold)
Mark:

B.Moe:

Aren't we talking about a parental notification law that is in place in some states and not in others? In states that have those laws, the state has stepped in and effectively taken the decision from the child and put it in the hands of the parents. THAT is where the state intervention comes in. In states without those laws, you cannot say the state has stepped in and taken the decision from the parents and handed it to the child--because the parent didn't have that power to begin with. You're looking at this backwards, logically backwards. That seems obvious to me.

Traditionally, pregnant kids of any age were treated as emancipated adults for purposes of these decisions. It is the state that is trying to change that, get it?

And yes, I agree that parents should generally be responsible for their kids. But should putative GRANDPARENTS have the power to overrule all decisions of a putative PARENT over the life or death of the potential GRANDCHILD? And should those decisions be made by imposing dogmatic religious beliefs on a would-be parent, when that would-be parent does not share in those beliefs?

Some of you are missing som... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Some of you are missing something.

First, does anyone doubt for a second that parents, whether they're 14 or 40, have the autonomy to care for their babies as they see fit? They are the sole decision makers with regard to pediatric care, surgeries, circumcision, ear piercing, choices of preschool, church, Sunday school, etc. While the state can step in and provide guidelines or mandates for all parents, the grand parents have absolutely NO rights whatsoever. Is that clear to everyone? To change that, grand parents would need a court order declaring their own kids incompetent and appointing themselves as the legal guardian. That is extremely difficult to do.

Given that, why is it you all seem to think leaving the issues of prenatal care, delivery, or abortion should be in the hands of the expectant grandparents? In doing so, you're asking the state to intervene and set back thousands of years of tradition.

Tattoos and voting rights are not analogous. The true consistency is in not interfering with a mother's right to control her body and raise her baby as she sees fit.

"But should putative GRANDP... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

"But should putative GRANDPARENTS have the power to overrule all decisions of a putative PARENT over the life or death of the potential GRANDCHILD?"

"Given that, why is it you all seem to think leaving the issues of prenatal care, delivery, or abortion should be in the hands of the expectant grandparents? In doing so, you're asking the state to intervene and set back thousands of years of tradition."

But what you are doing is granting parenthood without acknowledging the existence of the child. If we are going to call the pregnant a parent, then doesn't that make abortion murder?

Either the pregnant child is bearing a sub-human fetus, making her still a child and the abortion a medical procedure; or the pregnant child is bearing a human child, making her a parent and therefore an adult, but also making the abortion murder.


B.Moe:"But what yo... (Below threshold)
Mark:

B.Moe:

"But what you are doing is granting parenthood without acknowledging the existence of the child. If we are going to call the pregnant a parent, then doesn't that make abortion murder?

Either the pregnant child is bearing a sub-human fetus, making her still a child and the abortion a medical procedure; or the pregnant child is bearing a human child, making her a parent and therefore an adult, but also making the abortion murder."

Ah-hah!

So your "pro-parental notification" argument is not that at all. It is really an "anti-abortion" argument, isn't it? (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being anti-abortion.)

You're not alone. I think most, if not all, of the pro-notification people here are using that as a pretext for their underlyiing anti-abortion sentiments.

The problem is, you can't have a productive or meaningful debate on the notification issue, until you can intellectually divorce yourself from your real agenda for a moment. Like it or not, abortion is a constitutionally protected "right" according to the Supreme Court. Until that's changed, the only issue before us is "notification," which should be addressed on its own merits and not as a hook to limit the scope of our constitutional rights.

That's where my frustration comes in. I'm trying to honestly sort out the conflicting interests I have as a parent, and I find myself just reacting to many of you who pretend to participate in the debat, but instead are just looking for ways to lash back at Roe.

Quick show of hands:<... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Quick show of hands:

How many of you who argue on behalf of parental notification already know that you would forbid your child from having an abortion, if the decision were up to you?

[For purposes of this poll, assume the pregnancy resulted from consensual sex, and the fetus is healthy and viable in every way.]

Aha your ass, where did I s... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

Aha your ass, where did I say I was opposed to abortion? I have no problem what so ever with early term abortion. I just pointed out the fallacy and inherent moral problems with your arguments. If you chose to try to defend the indefensible by putting words in my mouth and attacking a strawman, that is your problem.

My exact stance on abortion is this: a fertilized egg is obviously not a human being, and abortion at this point is obviously not murder. A baby the day it would be born naturally obviously is a human being, and abortion at this point is murder, not withstanding exeptional circumstances.

The actual point it becomes viable is the sticky wicket, and until medical science can come up with an exact definition, I think the grey area should be an individual call. I also think this is an incredibly life altering and traumatic decision and a minor should have the consent of her parents.

I have known too many girls who will forever be haunted by rushing into an abortion they later regreted, and the counsel of the people who know you better than anyone else in the world should not be overlooked. Yes, I can imagine how scarey it is to have to tell your parents you are pregnant, but alot of necessary things in life are scary.


As to your poll, I would no... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

As to your poll, I would not forbid it, and would leave the decision up to her. But I would want to make damn sure she understood what she was doing, what her options were, and that I would be there no matter what.

Ok B.Moe, I read ya wrong. ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Ok B.Moe, I read ya wrong. Sorry. You know, all the murder buzzwords, etc.

By the way, I wasn't about to attack any straw men. If you fell into the group I suspect many here fall into, I was going to respect that and leave it alone.

B.Moe, based on what you just said, the notification laws won't likely affect you. You sound rational and compationate, and you're kids will value your input even when they disagree with you.

So, who does the law affect? Kids who want abortions when they know their parents will absolutely forbid it. The laws still leave the choice to the child. So, what's the point of forcing the confrontation and all the ugliness that goes along with it? What's the point of putting children in the situation where dogmatic fundamentalists start telling their kids they'll burn in hell, and disowning them, and all that bullshit we all know is far to common?

The law empowers the kids to make the decision, so they should choose who they trust to help them with that decision.

Remember, the kids already rejected their parent's advice when they chose to have sex, and when they failed to take precautions. Think they're ready to start listening now? Doubt it.

"So, who does the law affec... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

"So, who does the law affect? Kids who want abortions when they know their parents will absolutely forbid it. The laws still leave the choice to the child. So, what's the point of forcing the confrontation and all the ugliness that goes along with it? What's the point of putting children in the situation where dogmatic fundamentalists start telling their kids they'll burn in hell, and disowning them, and all that bullshit we all know is far to common?"

I don't like laws that are written based on the behavior of a very small percentage of people, and I do believe it is a very small percentage.

What about the good girl of reasonable, loving parents who makes a mistake. What if she doesn't want to tell her parents because she is afraid of disapointing them? What if she gets told by her friends it's no big deal, pressured by her "boyfriend" that it will ruin both of their lives and he is ready to get married, and rushes to have an abortion behind her parents back, compounding her guilt?

I suspect this is the case more often than the poor child being beaten with a bible for getting pregnant. In fact, I know more than a few anti-abortion "Christians" who didn't feel that way at all when it was there little princess with one in the oven. It seems they only want other people to not have abortions.

MarkSheesh,... (Below threshold)

Mark

Sheesh, I go away for a day and then I find you decide I'm "anti-abortion."

Nope, nada, not a bit. As I've said before, if an adult woman of sound mind wishes to have an abortion, I believe she has every legal right to do so, without any legal interference within the first trimester.

MINOR girls are something else all together. To deliberately cut parents out of the information loop on their daughter is assinine.

Planned Parenthood makes a great deal of their yearly revenue from abortions, so I do NOT consider their "opinions" on providing abortions to 12 y/o's as unbiased.

I am tired of seeing minor girls exploited for sex then told to "take care of it" as if abortion was no bigger deal then choosing the red or blue dress for prom.

Gov. Arnold was very un-PC not long ago in expressing his support for CA's Prop 73. He said (paraphrasing) as a father if he found out some man took his underage daughter for an abortion without Arnold knowing, he'd kill him.

I applaud that line.

JohnFirst off, I t... (Below threshold)

John

First off, I thought I'd check into CA's laws pertaining to medical records and privacy.

If my minor child is in the hospital for, as was mentioned above, an appendectomy...the doctor/hospital cannot refuse me access. Oh they may try, but they have no legal grounds to refuse. THE ONLY medical records they can refuse me are to those procedures to which my minor can legally consent -- ie due to emancipation, the minor's own marriage or divorce, or relating to pregnancy, contraception, abortion, rape or STD's. (minors cannot consent to sterilization).

Again, we are seeing the law take a different approach to reproductive health than any other health concern.

You have brought up the idea of consistency. Why then is the law inconsistent when it comes to a minor's health? Especially in the state of CA which has "age of consent" as 18, but allows minors to seek all manner of reproductive health service at age 12?

BTW... the teenage birthrate stats? Can you source that for me, because IIRC a lot can be explained by demographics with the highest rates in immigrant groups.

The idea that teens don't have access to information, services and even free condom is just silly.

Teen birth stats here: <a h... (Below threshold)
John:

Teen birth stats here: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/peo_tee_bir_rat

I was shocked at the numbers, btw. If someone had asked me before yesterday what the US teen birth rate was compared to other countries, I would have been way off.

So, I gotta hand it to Jay for bringing this issue (and others) up in a way that can be discussed without really getting into the red-hot issue of abortion, although we have a little here. I just did a little poking around, looking at your prop 73 in CA, and getting up to speed on what current CW is. Cuz, before this weekend, I was all "Hell yes, parental notification, dammit!", but no longer. I would vote against it.

I mean, one can come up with their own explanation for the embarrassing teen birth stat, but the three I mentioned are the most reasonable explanations. What's yours?

And I never said teens have no access to information and services, but you must admit it's restricted and stigmatised. Other countries are more open about teen sex, therefore the teens are more knowledgable.

But the bottom line is what's been repeated here: Who is the law helping, and who is it hurting?

I agree with Arnold only under the assumption he meant a man over 18 taking his underage daughter to an abortion. I'd want to kill the guy, too. Surmise what the parental notification law could do in CA: Force Arnold to possibly make good on his threat.

Heh, Darleen, I didn't deci... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Heh, Darleen, I didn't decide you were anything. Have I labelled you or accused you of anything at all?

"To deliberately cut parents out of the information loop on their daughter is assinine."

Once again, that's not the issue. Parents aren't in the loop in California. You're seeking to force that on daughters who feel they can't trust their parents but would still like to retain some relationship with them. You advocate state intervention to create a loop where none exists.

I don't have the answers. I said from the outset that I want to be in the loop. I'm a parent. However, I'm not convinced the state should force my daughters to tell me if they don't want to. And, for damned sure I don't want any majority of voters interfering with our relationship. Frankly, I think I should earn their trust, and they will consult me when they're interested. I would be crushed, but I think their interests come first--and they're not necessarily synonymous with mine.

As for the consistency arguments, forget about tattoos and peircings and crap. The reproductive services laws, and the autonomy young parents are awarded over their own offspring, are far more relevent. In that context, a child's autonomy over her own uterus is far more consistent with long-standing law than Jay would have us believe.

I think parental notification laws are a pretext for circumscribing Roe. Period.

However, I also think Roe is one of the worst-reasoned Supreme Court decisions of all time.

For what it's worth, my personal bottom line is this: Abortion ain't good. But I am not qualiified to tell another person what they can and can't do with their body. There are enough open questions that I don't feel a state or a bunch of voters should take it upon themselves to control others. I think all errs should be in favor of less intrusion rather than more. I guess that means I'm pro choice, yet anti-abortion in most circumstances.

Here's another thing to noo... (Below threshold)
John:

Here's another thing to noodle: Why on that magic day of my daughter's 18th birthday does she suddenly possess the competency to make that decision? Why not the day before? Why not 6 months later? Why not a year earlier?

You see where I'm going with this: We all know girls mature at different speeds. And if you don't know that, trust me on this one, I have three daughters.

Man, I would hate to have to go through the thought process of a gal 3 or 4 months shy of her 18th birthday who screws up on prom night. Before the law? After the law?

I think it would be worth i... (Below threshold)
Synova:

I think it would be worth it to require notification *even if* the choice was 100% up to the girl... *including* if she wants to carry the baby to term.

What ever decision she makes should *not* be made because she doesn't want her parents to find out. Notification would take this issue out of play. Mom and Dad *will* find out. So decide what you want to do.

It may also lessen the problem of girls not telling Mom and Dad until they show... maybe at five months or more when they can feel the baby move, and get hauled off for an abortion by her folks.

B.Moe:"I don't lik... (Below threshold)
Mark:

B.Moe:

"I don't like laws that are written based on the behavior of a very small percentage of people, and I do believe it is a very small percentage."

Once again, you're missing the point. You're the one advocating that a law be written. I'm advocating what is the status quo in my state: no law.

Dude, you're advocating the departure from tradition, and from existing principles of laws governing reproductive services.

Oh, and by the way, nearly all laws are written based on the behavior of the few. The majority of people behave.

Synova has a point that occ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Synova has a point that occurred to me earlier. I've honestly got to admit that it addresses some of my arguments, since it certainly rules out secret abortions motivated by the desire to conceal the pregnancy from parents. On the other hand, full term pregnancies aren't well hidden, are they? On second thought, her modification doesn't really change things, does it?

In Synova's world, the girl is screwed regardless of her decision. In New Hampshire today, the girl is screwed regardless of her decision. As a parent, I would be comforted by that. As a person and former underage adult, I'm appalled.

I don't pretend to have the answers. However, as a person who was financially independent from my parents by the time I was 14 (seriously, I worked three jobs simultaneously throughout jr. high and high school), but lived rent-free and freeloaded off them until I turned 17, and immediately bolted to tour the world on my own terms, I tend to have more faith in teenagers than those who led more sheltered lives. Kids are only as dumb as you treat them. Faced with cold, hard, reality, they'll surprise most people most of the time.

Hell, I managed a lucrative business at 16, and i know another commenter here who did the same at the same age--and we hired and fired employees 2-3 times our age. We actually managed competing businesses, and we handled tons of money and a lot of liability issues. Teenagers are NOT children!

Like it or not, they rise to the occasion when they need to. Their choice of tattoo or peircing might be suspect, and they might eat crap, but when handed the reins, most are as sound as adults. Oh, and don't get me started on the fucking loser adults I encounter in my line of work--they've got nothing on bright hard-working responsible teenagers (if any are still allowed to aquire those attributes).

I'm done. I've argued far too much, and I've slightly contradicted myself a few too many times in this thread. I'm torn with regard to the laws, but I favor fewer intrusive laws rather than more. I have faith in kids if you give them a fair chance. I hope I don't live to regret the chances I give my own girls.

Mark, the comments are too ... (Below threshold)
Sean:

Mark, the comments are too long to read them all, so I'll address your points and hope I'm not repeating other people.

1) Do you really equate abortion with tattoos and piercings?

Absolutely not. An abortion is a major medical procedure that can actually threaten the life and health of a woman. An abortion, even a "well-performed" abortion, can threaten a woman's reproductive ability. That's pretty serious. Not to mention the fact that this procedure is done, in the case of minors, without any reference to a medical chart. And minors are not the best people from whom to get that minor's medical history, that would be their parents. Especially reactions to certain medications.

2) Schools dispensing drugs: That rule is to protect children from having untrained lay people prescribe and administer potentially harmful medications without even the benefit of the student's medical chart.

Exactly. Yet abortion mills perform invasive surgery on minors without even the benefit of a complete medical history. Or do you honestly believe a minor knows their own medical history better than their parents? Of course not. They have no idea if they had bad reactions to certain medications when they were much younger. And obviously having a complete and accurate medical history is of no concern to abortion mills, because they make no attempt to obtain one.

The fact remains that medical providers are prohibited from doing anything to a minor outside of emergency life saving procedures without the parents' consent - except of course providing abortions. The reasoning behind not performing any medical procedures without parental consent? To protect the child. Apparently, abortion advocates don't give a rat's ass about the child, they just want the abortion to happen come hell or high water. Sickening.

As for protecting a minor in an abusive family, or even a minor who became pregnant by a non-related man who is above the age of minority, most parental notification laws provide a procedure for getting court approval for the procedure. An easy procedure handled by a social worker called by the school, or the child directly. The important thing about that option is, any abuse automatically gets reported - further protecting the minor.

Why anyone would be against these notification laws is baffling. The arguments against them are weak, if not non-existent, and only go towards endangering the health and well being of the minor in exchange for easy on-demand abortions for minors. Sickening.

seriously, I worked thre... (Below threshold)
Sean:

seriously, I worked three jobs simultaneously throughout jr. high and high school

Big deal? You think that's typical? If you do, you're deluding yourself. You talk about the loser adults you encounter in the working world, do you think they were any more proficient or well-informed as teenagers? Honestly, do you?

No Sean, I don't think it's... (Below threshold)
Mark:

No Sean, I don't think it's typical. The difference is I was given the chance to rise to the occasion rather than being treated like a helpless child. If I could do it, why not most others? There's nothing super about my dna--I'm made of the same shit we all are. My point is I think most teens are capable of handling their lives and making good decisions--if given the chance. I think most parents tend to quash that potential these days, and I think the state has no business intruding and making that worse.

Mark:"However, ... (Below threshold)
B. A.:

Mark:

"However, as a person who was financially independent from my parents by the time I was 14 (seriously, I worked three jobs simultaneously throughout jr. high and high school), but lived rent-free and freeloaded off them until I turned 17, and immediately bolted to tour the world on my own terms"

This seems to be a bit of a contradiction in itself. What does "financially independent" mean in this sense? You didn't need to ask them for spending money? Did you just freeload on the rent, or did they provide meals as well? How about healthcare, auto, or liability insurance? Did you purchase all of your other necessities with your own funds (clothes, toiletries, medicines, etc.), or let Mom & Dad chip in so that you could use reserve your own cash just for the stuff you wanted including your world tour?


"The difference is I was given the chance to rise to the occasion rather than being treated like a helpless child... My point is I think most teens are capable of handling their lives and making good decisions--if given the chance. I think most parents tend to quash that potential these days,"

Can I assume from the second quote that the situation you relate to in the first quote was a result of parents that were indulgent of your desires and allowed you the opportunity to do what you wanted, rather than you having to work those hours out of necessity? If so, your overall independence was a bit of a ruse, no? Just curious, because that is a pretty crappy foundation to use as a basis for your argument that based upon your experience, teenagers are capable of making these types of decisions.

Anyway, rules for societal interaction always involve tradeoffs. There is no absolute panacia of perfection in anything. Certainly, it is possible that parental notification could cause more harm than good in an individual case, but what is the trade-off, denying rights of every parent the opportunity to know about what could possibly be the most important and life-changing decision that their daughter may ever face? Is there any common sense to this at all?

Also, it is silly to argue that parental notification of an abortion for a minor is a case of the state overstepping its bounds. To do this you would have to assert that historically, minors have always had the right to do whatever they wanted without their parents having the right to know about it. We know that is not the case, and our laws have always recognized this. Now you are arguing that since there is no specific legislation requiring a parent to be notified of this procedure, that somehow the default position in this instance, is that the parent never had the right in the first place? So seeking to assert that right is a case of the government overstepping its bounds? That seems backwards to me.

Sorry I seemed to have drop... (Below threshold)

Sorry I seemed to have dropped out of the discussion- we got very busy at our house with new house building plans.
I would like to respond to two or three (I think) points really quickly.
1. an abortion or D. & C. is simply not as simple and normal a procedure as a waxing. I miscarried at the end of my third term once and had to have a D & C, and it's really, frankly, just idiotic to claim that this procedure is equivilant to gettin external hairs removed. It requires anesthesia. I was awake, but under gas and constantly monitored by my anesthesiologist. Some kids have bad reactions to that, and they might not know it or remember it.
It HURT, even with the anesthesia, and I needed stronger meds to deal with the pain when I went home- prescription meds.
You can continue bleeding for quite a bit after a D & C- for some it's like a heavy cycle, for others it's like the bleeding after giving birth. There's a lot of info on danger signs, what to look out for, when you should come back in, etc. Parents need to know this.
2. Mark (?) it really is a fact that the death rate to women from illegal abortions before Roe V. Wade is about the same as the death rate from legal abortions afterward. The coat-hangers in back alleys really is a pro-abortion myth- I've given you one site on that already. I have more- really, you're the one making claims without good evidence. It's your turn to back up your claim with evidence.
3. You want to know who here is pro-life as though that will prove something about the merits of arguments in favor of parental notification. I'd like to know what other surgery you think it would be okay to give to your minor child without letting you know anything at all about it.
I've been thinking really hard about this, trying to be extremely honest with myself, and the only time I can think of when I would consider it justified for surgery to be performed on my minor children without my knowledge would be a truly immediate, life or death emergency. If her appendix burst or she was in a horrible car accident and she was in danger of immminent death and I could not be located- yeah, then they had better operate without me- but there had absolutely better be somebody trying to reach me the entire time- not for the least reason because I might know things about her that they don't know and she is unable to tell them- or, in the case of an abortion, might not think to mention- passing out over heavy periods, hypertrophic scarring, responding to most anesthetics with shakes, tremors, and nausea; mitrovalve prolapse (which requires an antibiotic for *dental surgery,* childbirth, and would also need it for an abortion), bleeding disorders, this sort of list goes on and on.

There is also not any justification I can think of in *any* situation for performing surgery and sending the kid home without letting the parents know.

And finally, sometimes a girl wants an abortion for mistaken reasons- she needs a chance to talk things out with her parents who can give answers nobody else can. Some girls don't want to tell their parents not because they are afraid of abuse, but because they hate to break their parent's hearts. Having to talk to her parents would let her know there are more heartbreaking things to them than having a pregnant daughter.

Bottom line is, abortion is a medical event, it's surgery. Since when do we operate on kids without notifying their parents?




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