Tuesday, July 25, 2006

No Girl Is An Island

Deep national debt, enemies throughout the world, increasing economic and military dependence on an oil supply largely controlled by religious fanatics who hate our guts — lots of problems here that America needs to solve. So imagine my relief when the Senate passed a bill making it illegal to help a girl cross state lines to get an abortion without her parents’ consent.

Polls suggest there is widespread public backing for the bill, with almost three-quarters of respondents saying a parent has the right to give consent before a child under 18 has an abortion.

I don’t think everything “under 18” is necessarily a “child,” but skip that for now. I wonder if the results would be different were the question worded like this: should parents have the right to force their daughter to carry a pregnancy to term if she doesn’t want to?

Where do you draw the line between parental consent and daughterly rights? There are some things that fall well within the no zone — you can’t have sex with your daughters, choose not to feed them, or amputate their limbs just for the hell of it. What about forcing your daughter to have a baby when she doesn’t want to? Or forcing her to abort it, for that matter? I’d say no in both cases.

For Senators like Tom Coburn, the issue sounds more like a matter of sticking it (pun intended) to the girls who dare have sex:

Abstinence is the best way to prevent teenage pregnancy, responded Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "How many people really think it's in the best interest of young people to be sexually active outside of marriage? Does anything positive ever come from that?" Coburn asked.

I’m sure he’ll do his best to ensure nothing does. But I’ll list one positive thing: reduction of the likelihood that lust-nutty young people confusing that for true love will rush into an early marriage where they have nothing in common except a mutual sex drive that won’t sustain a relationship for long. (Unrelated coincidence: divorce rates are higher in Bible Belt states where people get married young.)

The bill makes no exceptions for the daughters of abusive parents:

Democrats spent the day trying to carve out an exemption for confidants to whom a girl with abusive parents might turn for help. It was rejected in floor negotiations .… Ensign rejected a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to protect from prosecution such confidants as grandparents, clergy and others to whom a girl might turn for help.

I’m guessing the argument was that it would be too easy for a girl with non-abusive parents to use that as a loophole. So if the daughters of abusive parents must make sacrifices, at least it’s for the greater good.

There’s something else to consider: even if you support a parent’s right to control or at least be aware of issues involving daughterly pregnancies, how far do you suppose this will go? Buying a girl a bus ticket, driving the bus on which she rides — considering our government’s historical fondness for mission creep, I can see this spreading to cover any action which does anything to make it possible for a girl get an out-of-state abortion (even if such help is unintentional).

Meanwhile, I guess there will no longer be any reason for teenage girls to confide in their boyfriends. At least the boys are better off.

8 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

Tom Coburn is certainly a paragon of Christian virtue, a physician who performed abortions but who now supports the death penalty for physicians who perform abortions. Yeah, I want to take my moral guidance from THIS guy.

This is all in preparation for the overturning of Roe v Wade. Eventually Roe will fall, and abortion regulation will be left entirely to the states. Somehow the Federal government can't come to terms with the fact that an underground railroad of pregnant women - the natural result of some states allowing abortions, others making abortion illegal - benefits no one.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous TC said...

GAWD I can't believe I actually had ONE fucking agreeable thought with that Kennedy, phuking phuker that he is that I agree with, but this is the first one! EVER! I SWEAR!!

One can only hope that the house will do it's usual messing up of anything like this to a point it will get killed along the line!

What happened to "One nation under god"?

Roe v wade will never be overturned! NEVER!!! I'd bet that asked off the picket lines all women want the choice! Their decision does not matter, but they do want the choice!

12:17 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

I'd bet that asked off the picket lines all women want the choice!

Dude...er...what?

If you're saying you ask the women fresh off the picket lines, at least I think that's what you're saying, that's kind of a dependent variable. If you were to take someone of the NARAL picket lines, I'd say yes. If you take someone off the March for Life lines, I'd say no.

There needs to be some form of adjustment to the current situation given that a female has the "choice", but the male involved gets to bear the financial burdens involved with (at least currently) it while having no say in that aforementioned "choice".

I must be spending too much time here, I read that article yesterday, and saw the quote, and said to myself "Jennifer's going to have fun with this one". Pegged it even to what quotes you'd reference. I need a life.

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, now Daddy Dearest can abuse his daughters and stepdaughters and get them pregnant, and the state requires his consent for the abortion? What are these people smoking?

12:08 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

yeah, now Daddy Dearest can abuse his daughters and stepdaughters and get them pregnant, and the state requires his consent for the abortion?

I've always been somewhat ambivalent on this issue, generally, so don't take this as coming from any particular philosophical bent. That said, realistically how many do you think that there are that fall into this category? As a parent, I don't have a problem with a consent thing for a minor child, simply because my child is being subject to a medical procedure which, like any medical procedure, has risks. Pregnancy itself has risks, though typically the physical risks are much less than surgical risks.

Though I am not so well prepared to have reams of supporting data, I would think based on my own life experience that the majority of people who are doing this are doing so specifically to avoid parental confrontation. I'm talking minors here, not adults, (Jennifer's objection to the term "children" appropriately acknowledged). I know of three women who did this very thing, crossing state lines for an abortion. In all three cases, the rationale was to not have it done locally simply to avoid the gossip. Jennifer can probably relate to that, as they were all in small southern towns, since she grew up in such a town.

Anyway, what would be the rationale for a person to cross state lines, instead of having the procedure done within their own state? Thinking aloud, the only non avoidance reason would be that there isn't a place locally, in which case I could see that. Other than that, it basically comes down to avoiding something.

If so, the question then further becomes...what are they avoiding? It would seem to me that if they view it as a simple medical procedure, there would be no reason. I had a vasectomy done, no big deal.

The bottom line is that you're presenting it as there is no option but to go out of state to have one, which I disagree with on the outset. When you're in state, this fed rule doesn't apply, and you're under state law. If the state requires consent, that would be the place to petition a judge for emancipation of the child, based on the fact that incest is involved (See mid page after clicking on my pseudonym, it shows that while Merry Land is a "consent" state, there already are rules which emancipate a minor involving this).

2:00 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

Ugh. I had a good friend in high school who's father beat her so bad he put her in the hospital. She ran away and got married when she was 15, and immediately got pregnant. Pops found her, beat her again so bad she had a miscarriage. The second time she ran away, she hid for two years. Hubby wasn't any kind of a prize, but he only got drunk and didn't work. He didn't actually beat her. (Paula divorced him when she turned 18 and went on to become a nurse. The rare happy ending to this tale.) I can just imagine what Paula's Dad would do with this law on his side.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

Pregnancy itself has risks, though typically the physical risks are much less than surgical risks.

I believe that's not the case, although I imagine the self help approach which tends to arise in prohibition situations involves a considerably higher mortality rate.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous TC said...

Moose, you are so very right.

"There needs to be some form of adjustment to the current situation given that a female has the "choice", but the male involved gets to bear the financial burdens involved with (at least currently) it while having no say in that aforementioned "choice"."

I did noteven get started on the roe v wade for men thing. Figured such was for another post if Jennifer decides to bring such up. It's her place.

11:42 PM  

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