Friday, February 27, 2009
Palin Parents and Parental Rights
Governor Sarah Palin is reportedly backing a bill that would require parental consent in order for a minor to have an abortion in Alaska. The Governor is supported by Rep. John Coghill (Republican) and Sen. Donny Olson (Democrat).
Palin said, "Wherever you fall on the abortion issue, right or left, this legislation is about families and parents rights and protecting our children,"
The bill would revise the Parental Consent Act originally passed by the State Legislature in 1997. It was later overturned by Alaskan Supreme Court justices in 2007, by a 3-2 vote. The court held that the parental consent requirement was unconstitutional because it infringed on a pregnant teen's right to reproductive freedom.
Planned Parenthood had originally brought the lawsuit in 1997. The organization says it plans to sue again if this bill is signed into law. The Executive Director of Planned Parenthood had this to say:
"We support parental consent and I think that is extremely important. I fully agree that ones parents should be talking about sex and about the consequences of sex, but I don't think that once you are dealing with an unintended pregnancy is the time the state should step in and make parents and teens communicate."
It is interesting that the state legislature can declare this bill unconstitutional because it "infringes on a teen’s right to reproductive freedom." This of course is unreasonable being that it then infringes on parental rights. Besides, couldn’t all laws regarding minors be said to infringe on their personal rights in one way or another?
After all, teen girls aren’t allowed to receive Tylenol from nurses at school without parental consent. Many cities have curfew laws for teens and the government doesn’t allow teen’s to smoke because they aren’t old enough to decide for themselves yet.
So how is the case for “reproductive freedom” solid justification for a minor to make a private decision to have an abortion? What if the unborn child is a female, what about her rights? (Obviously this issue goes hand in hand with the issue of abortion)
With freedom comes responsibility. It would seem to me, the laws should include safeguards for parents to help their children make well-informed decisions. I would think that there would be support both for parents to have to give consent and be informed before such a procedure, as abortion, would be performed on underage teen girls. I understand some people don’t parent well, but that isn’t reason to remove parental rights.
As for Planned Parenthoods Executive Directors statement, I wonder when he thinks it is a good time for the state to “step in” and “make parents and teens communicate.” Would it be appropriate when a minor is contemplating undergoing an invasive medical procedure that will affect the life of another person or is it only appropriate when a minor has a headache?
I think it is very appropriate for parental notification before an abortion, just as it is for every other medical procedure.
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