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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I know this has been talked about on this blog before and probably done better, but please humor me.

Those of us that work in the abortion field, and probably many that don't, know that a minor's ability to get an abortion can be a tricky thing. Depending on the state the minor lives in or is going to for their abortion, they may or may not need to have their parents notified or get consent for their abortion.

In 34 states parental involvement in a minor's abortion is required - 20 require parental consent, 10 require parental notification, and 4 require both. There are exceptions to these including a judicial bypass, medical emergency, and 6 states allow a grandparent or other adult relative to be involved instead. For those that might not know a judicial bypass is a process where a minor goes before a judge and that judge decides whether that minor can make the decision without parental involvement. (Stats from the Guttmacher Institute)

What set me off on this is the recent issue of the parental notification law in Illinois. I will try to explain this as clearly as I can. Illinois has a 15 year-old parental notification law that wasn't being enforced, but in November the Illinois Medical Disciplinary Board decided to change that. A temporary restraining order was immediately issued - filed by the ACLU of IL. After what to me is a confusing series of grace periods and restraining orders, the law is still not going to be immediately enforced, but the initial restraining order has been lifted. Currently there is a 60-day grace period in effect while appeals are pending.

Do parents really have a right to know? What is it about being a parent that allows you to control every move and decision your child makes? It's not like abortion is illegal (I don't want to hear the argument about if the parent being held responsible if a minor engages in illegal activity - which I don't think is necessarily true). Aren't teens people? I know they're not legal adults, and many if not most or all of them have growing up to do. But why can't they at least have autonomy over their body? Why do parents get to control that? Isn't that weird or wrong to anyone? I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I really don't understand. The pregnant girl/woman is ultimately the person who has to live with the decision that is made, so why can't she make it without interference?


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