Friday, June 29, 2007

Things are really bad when the only adult in the room

is a 16-year-old child.

She's sixteen years old. She's made it through tenth grade. She has no job, has never had one. She lives with her mom and brother. No dad, he died. This brother has already fathered a child and his mom is raising it, her grandchild, for him.

If she were to stand up before you right now and say I want to have children someday, but not just yet, you would praise her for her wisdom, her intelligence, her maturity, her sense of responsibility.

Here's the kicker: she's already pregnant.

She wants to get an abortion. She lives in a state that requires minors to notify their parents before getting an abortion. For whatever reason, she feels like she cannot do this and has petitioned the court for "judicial bypass," the process where a minor can go before a judge and get special permission to get an abortion without notifying her parents.

The lower court has ruled that she's too immature to make this decision on her own. She appealed that ruling, and the next higher court has also ruled that she's too immature to make this decision on her own.


There's a lot not to like about this whole case, and I had planned to tell you in detail what I think of the court's decision, but I'm just too angry right now. Maybe later.


Steve Bates said...

First, please pardon my delay in posting this. I had to play three games of solitare and drink one glass of wine before I calmed myself to the point where I could do anything but spew obscenities and profanities about this matter.

Second, it is obvious (to me at least) that women, young or not so young, get pregnant for all kinds of reasons other than an intent to bear a child. Sometimes, they are literally forced to have sex; sometimes, they are pressured into it. Sometimes, in the case of 16-year-olds, raging hormones overwhelm even the best judgment on the part of both parties involved.

Third, this story is distressingly common. I don't know (and wouldn't speak of) names and faces even if I had direct contact with the young women, but when I did contract work for Planned Parenthood, before the days of these draconian notification laws, a lot of very young women came to the clinic with similar stories, according to clinic staff.

Fourth... and this is so goddamned obvious that I find it impossible to believe the purveyors of draconian notification laws don't understand it, whatever pious disclaimers they my issue... when a girl doesn't want to notify a parent, it's usually (yes, usually) because the parent is in some way abusive. Often enough, the father impregnated her himself.

Fifth... it's none of a state legislature's or a court's business. They should STFU and stay TF out of the matter.

Sixth... despite repeated howls to the contrary, there is no ages-old "Christian" tradition dictating the outcome in such circumstances. Restrictions or outright prohibitions on abortion are a 20th- and 21st-century American phenomenon. Many Europeans, as Christian as anyone anywhere, are uncomprehending of the laws here.

Seventh... oh, I could probably list 20 reasons why the court's ruling is mortally offensive, but sooner or later I have to wrap this up. You know the rest.

hipparchia said...

thanks. you've saved me some frothing at the mouth.

i'm the child of one of those teens, born at a home for "unwed mothers" [and adopted into a womderful family], back in the days of illegal abortions and girls getting sent away for a year.

had abortions been safe, legal, affordable, and widely available way back then, it's unlikely i'd be here, but that's never stopped from wishing my birth mother had had the choice to go through with the pregnancy or not.

i didn't know that, your 6th point, about the christians only recently getting so uptight about the issue. too much of my life has been spent in the company of the fundies. i need to get out more.

ps. you can say fuck on my blog if you want to. i do like STFU though, and have caught myself almost using it in spoken conversation a few times.

Steve Bates said...

hipparchia, in some overwhelmingly Catholic countries such as Austria, the attitude toward abortion may be more severe; it's been almost 30 years since I've been there, and things may have changed, but there was little separation of church and state in Austria back then.

Apart from that, the musicians I know in, say, Netherlands, are astonished at what happens in the U.S. today. "Why is this an issue," some friends in Amsterdam ask. I can only answer that Europe dumped its puritans over here in America several centuries ago.

AFAIK, I have never caused a pregnancy. But one g.f. many years ago went for two illegal back-alley abortions years before she met me. According to what she said, in both instances, she suffered sepsis; in one instance, she almost died. I am far from objective about this matter: abortions should be safe and legal. If they're rare as well, that's fine, but they should be safe and legal, period.

PS I have known one other woman who was herself an adopted child who nonetheless believed that a woman should have a right to choose.

PPS Fuck! Fuck! Fuckity fuck fuck fuck! Is that better? :)

hipparchia said...


i personally think abortions should be safe, legal, free if need be, and common. but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, if you are not mature enough to make the decision, you are not mature enough to raise a child, therefore the court is requiring you to have a child that will be taken away from you by the state.

It would be more logical for the state to appoint a someone to talk to the partitioner and review the reasons.

I don't understand the logic that the state can't force you not to have children, but can force you to have them. If the state forces you to have a child, then the state should be responsible to pay child support.

There is nothing in the Bible about the issue, so what is the basis for the "moral" objection?

It's all about sex, and punishing people for having sex. A good therapist good help these people with their problem if they would only admit they have one.

Anonymous said...

That should read "petitioner", not "partitioner".

Steve Bates said...

"It's all about sex, and punishing people for having sex. A good therapist good help these people with their problem if they would only admit they have one." - Bryan

Have what? a good therapist? Mine helps me with my "problem" in that department... but I don't think that has anything to do with Stella's being an LPC. :)

This is not about protecting fetuses or children or young women. It is about controlling ALL women... and yes, punishing them for having sex. Alleged immaturity is just another excuse to mete out more punishment. I'd like to be sympathetic, but the people who advocate such laws are sick in a highly destructive way, and are probably beyond help through therapy.

Keifus said...

Why do you think they should be common? (Just curious. You could make a case of too damn many people, I suppose.)

yfbrkih: FUBAR-ed, you think?
ccqqczli: soviet quislings

hipparchia said...

hey, keifus!

as a confirmed treehugger and part-time misanthrope, yes, i count too many damn people as part of the equation.

less facetiously, if abortions are very common, then lots of doctors will be doing them [thus making abortions more widely available], and they'll have more practice at it too, which should help insure that the procedures are safely performed [practice makes perfect].

also, i've had trouble finding good numbers, but apparently the percentage of health complications [including death] from first-trimester abortions is about the same as that for birth control pills and other hormonal methods. the surgical option ought to be just as available as the hormonal option.

hipparchia said...

steve and bryan: i'm not ignoring y'all, i'm just thinking.

i'm thinking! I'm thinking! but nothing's happening!