No Girl Is An Island
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.