Saturday, September 23, 2006

Who decides?

The Mad Chatters flagged this story about parents who kidnapped their pregnant teenage daughter and were intending to take her to New York for an abortion a few days ago, but I'm only getting to blog about it now. I deem this a 'Very Special Story' because all in one efficient and tidy bundle, we have: Kidnapping! Abortion! Race! Parental-child strife! Violence! Prison! Women's rights! Super Stupid People!

Seriously. Incredibly special.

But not to be flip, the thing that's missing from all of these stories is that the mother-to-be is 19 years and can't be forced to have an abortion by her parents. That's the wonderful thing about choice (which unfortunately, is too often equated with pro-abortion). If this girl doesn't want an abortion, no doctor is going to give her one because her parents want her to. That's *her* choice and as an adult, her parents don't actually have control over what she does anymore. It does make me wonder about an alternative scenario I've never thought about before.

Most states require underage girls to get parental consent prior to an abortion, unless there are mitigating circumstances and they can get a judge to consent. But what if the parents want the child to have an abortion and the child does not want one? Then what? Who prevails in this case -- the parents or the child? My understanding in the first scenario is parents say no, then the girl has to have the baby. But what if the parents say yes and the girl says no, then what? Does she have to have the abortion regardless of her own wishes? I'm guessing 'no', but again that would be a 'choice' issue, but it would also create the contradictory issue that the parental oversight would be overruled and isn't parental oversight how anti-choice people want to erode abortion rights?

That's the story, mho, the idea that parents only have a say when it's against abortion, but not for -- not the Jerry Springer craziness of unkempt parents with a Hitleresque last name throwing their grown daughter into a car and taking her over state lines to force her to get an abortion.

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