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October 15, 2005

CA Prop 73 - Parental Notification

I'm voting YES So, I'm a parent, sue me. I have little patience for people who believe that minor girls have any right to a medical procedure sans parents. Why should abortion be treated any different than a whole host of other issues we generally trust parents to take care of?

Jay Tea at Wizbang discusses a similar law in New Hampshire.

Posted by Darleen at October 15, 2005 11:32 AM


This is such a hard issue for me. As I mother I get the logic you use, but as the friend of two girls who came from terrible homes and had secret abortions I am torn.

If it was our kids, you know they'd talk to us about it and we would support them and guide them through whatever decision was best.

But in the case of "Alice" she was 14, went to her mother who called her a whore and threw her out of the house (she had been raped by her step-father) I work with an organization that helps women/young girls in need. She lives in state that requires parental consent, by the time she had the courage to tell her mother (in hopes of getting her to sign hte slip) and got to the judge she was 16 weeks. UGH. She had tried to go on her own as soon as she figured out she was preggo, and use her older sister's ID but got busted, which is why she ended up having to tell her mother. It was an ugly situation.

I don't think there is an easy answer. My efforts lately have been into working hard to get sex education everywhere and access to affordable birth control so there are less unwanted pregnancies. Though in Alice's case it wouldn't have mattered.

Posted by: Mieke at October 15, 2005 08:13 PM

I doubt that more than 2 percent of pregnant teenagers are the result of rape or incest. That's not a minority.

Since it's against the law to give a kid a tylenol without parental approval, why would it be okay for a doctor to do vaginal surgery (i.e., abortion) on teenaged girls without notifying their parents?

Now, as to the few cases where rape or incest is involved -- well, if a girl needs an abortion without telling her parents, the family system is usually pretty screwed up to begin with.

Instead of enabling the dysfunctional family situation, by permitting secret abortions, perhaps teenagers who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest should be removed from the endangering situation ...

Or, it it's a result of teenaged rebellion ... maybe the pregnant girl should be allowed to become independent minors ... and cut loose from family economic support for awhile.

And, maybe some parents should be forced to take a hard look at how their attitudes impact their daughters' behavior.

Unfortunately, "secret" abortions for teenaged girls deals with nothing. Just makes enabling, and at times abusive behavior to continue.

Posted by: FrauBudgie at October 16, 2005 08:15 AM

One reason we require parental consent for Tylenol is to address legal liability issues -- the school doesn't want to get sued if the Tylenol somehow kills your kid. This is merely the school's self-interest, not some kind of deep moral reason.

I have an argument here for why it makes more sense to require parental consent for tattoos than for abortions. The principle behind the tattoo restriction is this: If one of a child's options is more likely to seriously constrain her future opportunities than the other, we have some reason to require parental consent for that option. Getting song lyrics tattooed on your forehead is more likely to constrain your future opportunities than not doing so, and not having an abortion is more likely to constrain your future opportunities than having one. You can always become a mother later, but having a child closes a whole bunch of doors.

Mieke's point about screwed-up families is, practically speaking, more important than mine above. Let me also conjecture that in most well-functioning families, the girl will tell her parents if she's pregnant, they'll make a decision together, and the law won't be needed.

On parental consent (not notification) I'll say that in a case where a girl adamantly wants to have an abortion, and her parents are adamantly against it, I think it's the girl's decision and not her parents'. She's the one whose entire future is at stake.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf at October 16, 2005 04:25 PM

Regarding liability: So ... everybody in this country has the right to be sued ... EXCEPT abortion performing doctors ... ?

Regarding parents and teens: Agree that it is the girl's future, not the parents.

However, 98 percent of the time, the folks who honestly have the girl's best interest at heart are the parents -- not the ACLU, not planned parenthood, and not feminists.

Also -- the future envisioned by a 14 year old is likely to encompass most of the next weeks ...

Here's the medical reason for at least notification: As with any procedure, there's always a chance that complications occur. So, a girl gets an abortion and starts bleeding out into the toilet a few hours later ... the people she lives with need to know what happened ...

Posted by: FrauBudgie at October 17, 2005 02:40 AM

The Rad Right argues in adolescent murder cases that "If they're adult enough to commit murder, then let them by tried as an adult."

Well, if she's adult enough to have sex and get pregnant, let her make her own decision to have the child or not.

Hey, if we're going to be hard-asses, let's do it right.

Posted by: Tillman at October 17, 2005 05:45 AM

Jaysus, Tillman, are you really clueless or just spoiling for a fight?

Let's take your juvie criminal v minor pregnant girl.

The law's default position on juvie criminals is that they are removed and put into a separate system from adults. Why? Because they are considered (again, generally and by default) too immature to understand the gravity of their actions. Juvie system acts not as a justice system but as a kind of "super parent" with the goal of rehabilitation and supervision to help the juvie rejoin society.

However, the exception is when a kid commits a crime so heinous that there is a hearing to remand him/her to adult court.

The law in regards to minors sexual conduct already has an age of consent (in CA it is 18). In matters of abortion, the law on notification would make it the default and general stance that a parent must be notified (hello, not permission but notification, before an abortion can take place. What it does is to ensure that the parents, who are responsible for their children (again, by default and generally unless proven unfit) are in the information loop in regards to their children. Notification laws do have an exception..the minor girl can seek the judicial bypass.

What you don't seem to understand is that there are a lot of girls out there that are pregnant by adult men....and their agenda in persuading the girls to have abortions has nothing to do with what is right for the girl herself.

I cynically believe the whole impetus behind the "girls as young as 12 can have 'privacy' in regards to reproductive health" is twofold ... further reducing the influence of parents on their children AND making sure girls are influenced to continue to look at male models of sexuality as normal for them.

Easier to deliver up girls to casual sex when they can casually "take care of it."

You want to be "hard ass?" Then I guess you believe that kids shouldn't be the responsibility of their parents, eh? Just take 'em all away at birth and creche them in government centers to be raised by the proper educational professionals. I mean, since we cannot trust parents to want whats right for their daughters and all.


Posted by: Darleen at October 17, 2005 06:54 AM

So...a girl knocked up by her stepdad in rape has had "casual sex" and needs to deal with the results?

Posted by: Anonymous at October 17, 2005 07:30 AM

Darleen, I just reject the premise that committing a heinous crime implies adult behavior. I have to admit that I was cruel as a child - to animals. That didn't make me an adult though, on the contrary - it was juvenile behavior. (And also it was of course immoral and stupid on my part when I was 5 or 6 years old.)
So, I suppose my question is, if you assume that cruelty makes a person an adult, why doesn’t an adult act like consensual intercourse?

BTW, you may be right on your stance about parental notification. Sometimes making these one-size-fits-all rules is immoral no matter what you decide. I suppose I am trying to argue that I disagree with putting children to death – even when they have committed cruel crimes. (A case of a retarded child in Texas comes to mind, for example.)

Posted by: Tillman at October 17, 2005 09:54 AM


Why do trolls have some sort of reading comp problem?

I said there are exceptions to every policy... be it juvenile court to parental notification laws.

I've already talked about girls being impregnated by adult men and OBVIOUSLY a step OR bio dad who impregnates his step/bio daughter is doing something ILLEGAL. Just how the f*ck do you propose to catch him at it if abortion profit centers are not held responsible for REPORTING underage abortions???

Posted by: Darleen at October 17, 2005 01:08 PM

just reject the premise that committing a heinous crime implies adult behavior.

Tillman, you haven't had much dealings with juvenile offenders have you?

Shall I give you chapter and verse of some of the ones, especially gangbangers, that come through office after they've been held to be tried as adults?

How about a serial rapist of senior women? Think that is just an immature, spontaneous prank?

The law is NEVER one size fits all, otherwise we wouldn't need courts, different counts, different categories (ie. death of one person at the hands of another can range from justifiable homicide to first degree murder with special allegations).

There is a difference between a 16 y/o who spray paints his name on the side of a warehouse, and a 16 y/o trying to make his street name who loiters in a courthouse parking lot then executes a police officer.

Volunteer your time at your local DA office sometime.

Posted by: Darleen at October 17, 2005 01:15 PM

Darleen, I don't think you want to go there. Do you want me to go through the sexual act of a teen? You want something explicit; we can both do that... (Kidding - I wouldn't do that.)
I'm still not convinced, we are steeped in violence - are you kidding me? The Bible has it everywhere, our movies do too. Unfortunately, violence is second nature to us. Just ask any psychologist or anthropologist. (I'm not saying it should be tolerated, but we come from a history of barbarians remember.) My contention is that we have to learn to resist our violent tendencies (us men anyway). That comes through maturity. So violence, no matter how horrible, is not evidence of maturity.

Posted by: Tillman at October 17, 2005 03:16 PM

As others have noted, a girl in a functional family will not need this law. She'll go to her parents on her own. It is the kid from the damaged environment who will be hurt further by it. And yes, darleen makes a valid point (!) when she notes that parental notification may be the only way a criminal gets apprehended, as in the abusive adult male/ teen girl example. And yes, frau budgie is correct that a good parent will absolutely want to know that her daughter has undergone a procedure with potential after effects requiring medical attention.

The problem with all these laws, and why we have pushback , is because these types of conversations have been hijacked by political activists. "Pro-lifers" and religious extremists do not have the best interests of girls or babies at heart. What matters to them is their radical political agenda, and they use laws like these as stepping stones. There is no compassion in their arguments, and their lack of interest in the welfare of a young girl who may have to delay an abortion for an untenable period in order to seek a waiver of this law, for instance, is completely outside of their concern.

A lot of these issues could be debated in a more humane manner if the radical Christian right in America had so much as a shred of Christian empathy in its makeup.

Posted by: Snicker at October 18, 2005 03:38 AM

- In regards to the "one size fits all" aspect of the law issue, we need and have, as Darleen points out, ranges of laws to cover circumstances. A dysfunctional family, where one or both parents are crack heads living off of welfare stipends, hardly qualifies as a responsible parental unit, and in those sorts of cases a clear need exists for court/social protection of a childs wellfare. And yes that would even include "gangbangers". But as a general rule, as a parent, I'm going to fight tooth and nail against the insidious, underhanded efforts of the ACLU, PPH, and any other group of illetist assholes that try to errode My position as family captain of My ship.

Because no matter how they protest to the contrary, this is all just another cog in their "machine of attrition" campaign to try to reduce and/or remove every semblance of morality basis in our society. Whether its the fight to maintain the Cross on Mount Soledad, 5 miles from My house, or the rights of a parent to know anything that is of the slightest importance about their childrens welfare, or the right to have faith based schooling taught alongside agnostic/atheistic science in the classroom, or for everyone to be held to a moral standard when deciding if a baby should be drilled through the head or not.

Moralistic relativism is a touchstone to the insinuation of the Marxist/Anarchist ideal into our lives at every level, and needs to be controlled by every means possible.

Posted by: Big Bang Hunter at October 22, 2005 05:22 PM