Abortion, Birth control, and Parental Consent

There has been a good deal of debate over whether minors should be required to obtain parental consent in order to recieve abortions or birth control pills. Do parents have a right to prevent their children from doing so?

IMO, parents have as much right to stop their kids from getting abortions or birth control pills as Jehovah’s Witnesses have to srop their children from getting blood transfusions, by which I mean none whatsoever.

I’m sure some of you will complain about parental authority being usurped. Yes, those who would provide girls with abortions or burth control are usurping parental authority, and I have no problem with that. Why? Because it is pretty much universally agreed upon that when parents start to harm their children, society has not only a right, but a duty to usurp parental authority. I’m sure that anyone who has any idea what teenage mothers go through would agree that forcing one’s children to have children definitely constitutes serious harm.

In an earlier thread, elucidator write:

  1. (something I can’t remember)
  2. Children are incredibly horny.
  3. Children should not have children!

yeah…uh huh…good comparison that.

If a kid is old/mature enough to have sex, that kid is old enough to decide for his/herself about birth control and the consequences of unsafe sex.

And who decides what’s better for the kid or when is the kid old enough?

The only problem I forsee would be if the girl has a reaction to the birth control/or something goes wrong with an abortion. Then the doctor would be liable.

Why, the “kid” decides, of course.

So long as the medical community is inclined to afford privacy to minors, I see no reason to force them to do otherwise from an ethical standpoint. From a legislative standpoint, forced notification represents bad policy. Minors who are denied birth control will still have sex; minors under threat of being denied abortions will also still have sex. Requiring parental notification serves only to increase the number of teens who are either pregnant or mothers, something that every side agrees is a bad thing.

Of course, if you believe abortion to be murder than you would want parental notification as one more means by which to reduce the number of abortions. That is another debate.

Sure, why not. Why don’t you let a kid decide if he wants to do drugs as well? Or to go to school?

IANAL, but wouldn’t the doctor be just as liable if the parents did give their permission?

Because drugs are illegal in Canada and the States. They harm people physically, especially children. Not attending school is also illegal and very harmful to a child’s future.

Sex, on the other hand, if done safely (and with the right person etc.), is not a bad thing. It is not illegal. It is not physically harmful. It is not damaging to their future.

Plus, I think it would be more common for a 7 year old to not want to go to school than a 16 year old. I doubt the 7 year old would want to have sex. The 16 year old can make decisions better than the 7 year old. (Sorry if I’m expressing the logic badly)

Golly, I don’t know about you, but I did decide if I wanted to use drugs (No), and go to school (Yes).

Likewise, I’m not quite far enough removed from kid-dom (I’m only 25) to remember that my parents feelings on sex had an awful lot to do with my decisions in that respect either.

RE: The abortion issue, I think most of the minors out there are covered for such things by their parents health policy. Unless you advocate making abortions free of charge, I think it would be, generally speaking, for the best if the policy holders were informed of what was being done with their policy.

I would actually go one step further and say that by the time the ‘kid’ reaches 7th grade (12-13 years), it should really not be an option for the parents to keep them out of any sort of sex-ed classes, assuming again that the student is attending a public school.

Really? and at what age?
'cause you see when my one client claimed that the sexual contact he had with the 11 year old was consensual, I told him the child couldn’t consent.

I understand what you’re getting at. However, we have laws about age of consent, in order to protect children from adults who would prey upon them. I agree there’s a substantial difference between 2 teens foolin’ around and the 40 year old having sex with a 10 year old, but you’ll need to (IMHO) take the latter into consideration in this discussion.

If you think a girl isn’t mature enough to have an abortion or take birth control pills without her parents’ permission, how can she be mature enough to raise a baby?

can you elaborate on this analogy? are you saying that abortion is like drugs? abortion is like school? drugs are like school? abortion, drugs, and school are all alike in some relevant way? or is your point that it should be illegal for kids to make any decision that has the possibility of serious negative consequences without parental approval.

i think a better analogy would be ‘would you want your kid getting any invasive medical procedure done without your input’. since i’m pro-abortion, i would definitely want to know who my (hypothetical) daughter was going to for an abortion. considering the potential for complications, i’d want to make sure she goes to someone competent. i’d feel this way for any medical procedure.

as long as abortion is legal, i think parental notification is a good idea, and it should be illegal for a parent to deny their daughter an abortion on non-medical grounds. it should be up to a doctor to determine if there is some complication in the girl’s pregnancy that would make her a poor candidate for abortion.

if abortion is ever made illegal, then parental notification laws will be moot. girls who want an abortion will not notify their parents unless they thought their parents would help them find a competent ‘back-alley’ abortionist.

Actually, I believe that a majority of health plans do not cover the procedure unless it is being done because of health issues.

As for the main issue here, this one is a sticky wicket.

On one hand, a parent has the right to make decisions for their kids until they reach a certain age. And they don’t need my permission to do what they feel is “right” for their kids, even if I think it is, in fact, very wrong.

On the other hand, the thought of a scared teenager having to face parents who might not react in a manner I hope I would in that situation, for whatever reason, scares me. Actually, some of the choices this teenager might make in lieu of being able to talk to their parents (back-alley or home abortion attempts, dumped baby in garbage, suicide, running away, ad nauseum) instead of just having a doctor or social worker help.

If I had a gun to my head, I would have to begrudgingly fall onto the rights of the parents here. But if a slew of teenagers started doing things to circumvent their parents in this decision, I think it would be reprehensible to not take a look at that and try it the other way.

So it’s either abortion or teenage motherhood…those are the only options available?

First of all, we’re talking about birth control and abortions – NOT sex.

Second, sex has inherent dangers, even with birth control methods. No form of birth control can totally prevent pregnancy or STD’s – not even condoms. (Clue #1: Condoms only cover part of your body, whereas diseases such as herpes can be transmitted through other flesh-to-flesh contact.)

Anyway, talking about the safety of sex is a red herring. Even if you grant that there is such a thing as truly safe sex, that’s not the issue at hand. The issue is whether abortions and various birth control methods are safe, and how.

I don’t know for sure, but in my experience, most insurance plans do cover abortion procedures (but don’t cover birth control methods besides hysterectomy). I have an acquaintaince who has used up all of her free-abortion chits with her insurance agency - they limit the coverage of abortions to five in a lifetime. Before anyone starts harping on serial-abortion-getters, her rationale for it is that the insurance will not cover the $30 per month cost of birth control pills, but abortions are free to her. I’m not defending this, I’m simply saying that it makes sense for her from a financial standpoint.

But anyway, back to the OP–

Birth control: I don’t think access to birth control should be restricted at all. We don’t notify the parents of a 16-year-old boy buying Trojans; why should we notify the parents of a 16-year-old girl buying birth control pills? And what would the results be of doing so? Does anyone really think that if the parents of said 16-year-old girl denied her permission to get on the Pill, say, that she would decide to stop/not begin having sex? I believe it is more likely that she will continue/begin having sex without birth control, or with inferior or unproven methods of birth control.

Abortion: I’m on the fence here. As a parent, I’d want to know that my daughter was undergoing what amounts to a surgical procedure. But as a once-pregnant teenager, I can sympathize with the fear and shame that prevented me from telling my own parents (and we had a good relationship!). I guess if you put a gun to my head I would come down on the rights of the pregnant teen to have an abortion unimpeded, though. It is her life that is primarily being affected.

In the end, I thank goodness for organizations such as Planned Parenthood for dispensing an array of birth control methods as well as solid information to women of all ages.

Well, it might make her think twice. Individual reactions would doubtlessly vary.

Anyway, there’s an obvious reason to restrict the sale of the Pill – medical side-effects. A conscientious parent should know if their child is about to ingest pills with signficant medical side-effects. (A similar case can be made for condoms, BTW, since many of them contain spermicides. I don’t know if any side-effects have been conclusively linked to these spermicides, but if the possibility exists, then I think parents should know about it.)

This one’s easy, at least for me. As a parent, I have the legal obligation to supply my child(ren) with food, shelter, clothing, and health care. I am responsible for their every action. In the State of Georgia (and others) a parent can be held criminally and civilly liable for the actions of their minor children. In order to properly dispense these responsibilities parents must have rights over their children above and beyond those afforded in adult-to-adult relationships. If it is my responsibility to provide healthcare, for instance, then I must have the right to know when my child has gone to a doctor and for what reason.

Gundy queries:

Because BC pills are prescription drugs. All drugs, prescription and OTC, have the possibility of harmful side effects. As the person responsible for the child’s health care I have a right to know what they are taking. Condoms, OTOH, are not drugs and should be available.

Abortion is a surgical procedure. A parent, as the responsible party, must have the right to prior knowlege of any medical procedure perfomed on their child. It matters not whether the procedure is an abortion or an appendectomy. The exception to this would be a life threatening emergency. In that case operate first and notify later.

This ain’t about sex, folks, or birth control. The OP specifically asked about parental rights concerning medical care.

Please note that for the purposes of this debate I am defining “child” as a minor supported in whole or in part by a parent or guardian. A 16 year old who is living independantly, earning their own keep and supplying their own food, shelter, clothing and medical needs should have the responsibility to look after themselves.

Most insurance companies do not cover abortions, unless medically necessary–that is, if the life of the mother is threatened, or something is wrong with the baby (i.e. the baby is already dead, or so severely handicapped that it would not be viable outside the womb).

I am pro-choice. I am also the parent of a daughter. I have had an abortion myself (as a young adult), and also relinquished a child for adoption. I also have a sexually transmitted disease, known as HPV. Because of these things, I inted to be as open as possible with my kids about sex and all it’s joys and consequences. If my daughter becomes pregnant as a teenager, I will make sure she is aware of all of her options, and the consequences of each one. If she chooses (I will not make the choice for her) abortion, I will help her get one, from a safe, reputable clinic.

I understand why the “squeal rule” has become law in so many places, but I’m just not sure it’s for the best. Even as a parent, I just can’t say that I’m all for it. Of course, I want to know that my child is having a surgical procedure performed. And I hope that I can impart enough knowledge to my children that they will know how to avoid that situation entirely. But there are thousands and thousands of kids who feel not only uncomfortable telling their parents, they feel downright unsafe. And I believe that there are parents out there who would physically harm their children upon learning of a pregnancy.

Oy. Could someone please help me get this fencepost out of my butt?