Posted by: bridget | 6 November 2006

California’s Proposition 85

A big pachyderm “yes” to California’s Proposition 85, which would require physicians to notify parents whose minor children are seeking abortions 48 hours before performing the procedure. The pachyderm is a fan of legal consistency; she recalls the days when she needed her parent’s permission to run cross-country and to sign off on every form for a sprained ankle. It is absolutely insane to require parental consent for every medical procedure imaginable, but not to even require notification before performing an abortion.

The pachyderm finds the complaints about Prop. 85 to be almost comical. “We cannot mandate family communication!” This is true. We also can’t mandate that people not kill each other, but we don’t abolish murder laws, now do we?
The pachyderm is generally unsympathetic to the idea that these kids will have trouble navigating a judicial maze. If they deem themselves adult enough to have sex and buy the condoms, they can figure out how to file a bypass request (with the help of a court-appointed guardian and attorney, no less!). The law requires that the trial court give a hearing and a decision within three business days; appellate courts have four days; the “no” on 85 group seems to have missed that fact.

For children who are in abusive homes, the “solution” proposed by the anti-Prop 85 group is sheer insanity: have the minor undergo a traumatic medical procedure and send her back to her abusive home. Um, wrong answer on both counts.

Aside from legal consistency (treating abortion like any other surgery), Prop. 85 has the added benefit of allowing parents to care for their child’s health. Post-abortion complications are not rare; psychological complications are extremely common. Furthermore, parents who had been in the dark about their teenagers’ activities can proactively help them to prevent further pregnancy. (Repeat pregnancies and abortions are not uncommon.) Finally, the pachyderm dislikes the idea that the State is better able to take care of children than parents are.

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