Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Abortion and SCOTUS: round....oh, who knows....

SCOTUS has taken up another abortion case to follow in the lines of Casey, Roe, Griswold, and the others. This time it revolves around parental consent/notification laws in New Hampshire, which state that parents of a minor must be notified that their daughter is planning on having an abortion before it actually occurs. NARAL and all the other usual suspects are screaming bloody murder (OK, that's a bad use of phrase there), while conservatives are arguing that this is just good sense. Some evidence for the conservative case:

--If you are a minor child, you need parental consent to do just about anything to your body, from getting a tattoo to having major surgery in a hospital. Your body isn't really your body until you're 18 and a legal adult. That's just the way it is. When I was a senior in high school, we had to get our parents to sign a permission form if we were under 18 so we could watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest . Fortunately, most of us were over 18 and could just sign it ourselves. But if we need parent approval to watch an R-rated film in school, or get aspirin from the school nurse, doesn't it just make sense that for a medical procedure as heavy as an abortion (where you're given Versed, a highly potent sedative that erases your memory--I've had it before, and it's nice, but it's heavy) the parents should at least be told ?

--The opponents argue that if it's a medical emergency then there's not enough time to tell. Excuse me, but if it's an emergency, then parents especially deserve to know. Who else knows their child's medical history as well, or can take care of their daughter after the procedure?

Good Morning America had a father on today whose daughter died after a back-alley abortion 17 years ago--she had one because she didn't want to tell her parents she was pregnant. That's tragic, but that doesn't mean that parents shouldn't know. The New Hampshire law isn't even as strict as other states that not just require knowledge but consent before the abortion is carried out.

The law is good and makes sense. We're not denying anyone's "right" (no matter how tenuous it may be....sigh). We're just making sure her parents are aware of what she's going to do. After all, they have to sign off on every other medical procedure. They should at least know about this one.

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