By Nancy Smith
Another year, another opportunity for Florida to conjure up an abortion bill to shame a woman or scare the daylights out of a girl.
Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, claims her House Bill 265 will keep pregnant girls under 18 safer because they will have to get their parents’ written permission before they can have an abortion. I’m sure she means well. But I don’t know how she figures she’s promoting safety. Does she have proof? Can she show us the numbers?
I’ve been an advocate for women’s reproductive rights since before Roe v. Wade, and lest you question my conservative colors, that was during the Sixties and before, when the Republican Party stood for personal responsibility, and the sanctity of a woman’s right to choose was nonpartisan.
But it’s also personal. For me and a lot of women my age, regardless of party. A lot of men, too. We’re stridently noisily pro-choice creatures. You know why? Because we remember what it was like to grow up in towns and cities without Roe V. Wade. We were there, eyes wide open.
I fear Rep. Grall thinks all parents would react as she would, if confronted by a pregnant 14-year-old — supportively, with love and understanding. And no doubt most parents you and I know would.
But what if a daughter didn’t want her parents to find out she was pregnant or that she intends to have an abortion — and I knew plenty of girls like that in high school. Depending on a number of factors — parental religious beliefs, the circumstances of home life or just ordinary tensions between parents and teenagers — some girls didn’t want to tell their parents.
Then there were the girls who, we found out later, were being sexually abused by a family member. And girls whose parents beat them within an inch of their lives when they found out; or kicked them out of the house. It was those girls who didn’t have Planned Parenthood to talk to, who went to a back-alley butcher if they had the money; or if they didn’t, there were always “friends” to give them a rusty coat hanger and bad advice.
Most of us knew girls like that. Most of us can remember, as I can, at least one girl whose desperation cost her her life.
So many of my generation want Roe V. Wade, we want legal abortions and, frankly, we want Planned Parenthood fully funded.
Keeping Planned Parenthood around with an elevated status as it used to have, Rep. Grall, that’s how to keep girls safe.
I feel as strongly as I ever did that teens should be allowed their own reproductive choices. Globally, teenagers have 17 percent of the world’s 42 million annual abortions. When acquired legally, only 0.3 percent of abortion patients experience complications, and only 0.6 of 100,000 abortion procedures result in death.
In comparison, the risk of death for women who have their babies is about 14 times higher: 8.8 deaths per 100,000 live births, with another seven deaths per 100,000 during pregnancy. These numbers include the deaths of teen girls, who have higher rates of preeclampsia than women in their 20s and 30s.
Yet, no state requires parental consent or notification for prenatal care or delivery services — even invasive and statistically more dangerous Cesarean deliveries.
Let’s be honest about what we’re doing with HB 265: We’re creating another parental-involvement statute, not because we want to develop policies to improve a girl’s health, but because we want to secure political goals aimed at 1) making abortion harder to get, 2) restoring parental authority and 3) punishing girls for having sex.
Please reject misogynistic legislation of any kind.
Mary Fusco says
Parents are responsible for children under 18. I believe that any medical procedures must be signed off by a parent or legal guardian. We live in a sue happy society and I Can’t believe that any doctor would perform a procedure on a minor without parental consent. Another question – exactly who is paying for abortions for minors? I find it hard to believe that doctors are doing these pro bono.
I agree 100% with Mary Fusco..
We, the Taxpayers, pay for everything and I’m sure there is something written somewhere that excludes abortion-for-children as a parental right.
Perhaps more effort should go into teaching about behavior that leads to not needing an abortion.
That should include teaching boys to use contraception. There is no reason that boys should not be equally responsible for the prevention of pregnancy, and yet less than 10% of males use condoms. The vast majority of women and girls use birth control. There is no reason that both could not use it. Honestly we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all if as many men – and boys – used a condom whether the girl is on the pill or not.
Until recently I believed abortions should be safe, legal and rare. It is a whole lot more complicated than that. And abortions are not so rare. Importantly, science has shown the unborn are viable at a much earlier age than previously thought. Abortions are sometimes done up until the moment a live birth would happen — this is not reproductive rights, it is death for innocents.
Parents are responsible for a 14-year old’s medical care for a reason. What 14-year old is mature enough to make medical decisions? They aren’t mature enough to sign contracts, vote, drive, join the military. They need guidance, not “services”.
There are 2 lives here with rights. Who is speaking for the unborn? Much is made of the rights of inmates facing the death penalty after conviction — what hypocrisy.
L Hendrickson says
Abortions are NOT done up until the moment a live birth would happen. That assertion is totally untrue. In fact, there was a law passed during President Reagan’s time that if a baby is born prematurely (whether during an abortion or not) and shows signs of life, ALL measures must be taken to maintain this baby’s life. Please get your facts straight. There is only two choices-legally safe or illegal unsafe abortions. We will always have abortions. It is time for people to get over this and allow teenagers/women have control over their bodies. Perhaps if we had safer, more effective birth control, abortion would not be an issue. But we do not.
Reproductive rights? You really mean killing babies. Parents should have a right to know about what their kids are doing, it’s called parenting.
Parents should know so they can help guide and support their child in making such a serious decision.
Dennis Talbot says
A person under 18 is considered underage for many things in almost all states. Can a 17 year old get a tattoo Without a parent consent? Can they join the military at 17 without parent consent Most under 18 are not tried as adults in courts unless it’s a very serious crime. Yes, children needs parents consent fir most things. Abortion must be one of the consents. All abortion should be illegal in my opinion.
Figures the above statement comes from a man.
Maybe we should just make all men who think like this sterile.
You have never been pregnant and underage. Afraid of your parents or maybe even raped by a parent.
What women do withtheir body is of no businees of yours.
Girls under 18 need parental consent to have a cancer tumor removed. Pro-choice and pro-abortion supporters look at an unborn child as a cancer, so they squash their own argument if you look at it that way. The stigma of teen pregnancy is NOT what it was before or when r v Wade was put into law. My biggest regret in life is that I had an abortion at barely age 17. Mom was still in the Hospital after having a massive stroke when I was 16. Dad was a mean basket case and I thought I’d make his life worse, so I snuck off and aborted my child. I’ve thought about that every single day since abs I’m now 50, and have 3 other (grown and flown) kids. Abortion is only necessary when the unborn child or mother are in imminent danger of dying. I’m not sure where I stand on incest or if a girl is raped that’s incredibly difficult to ban an abortion for. The rest should result in full term babies. My 2 cents.
Mike Cocchiola says
Conservatives continue to force their version of Christian morality on this state and this country. Their ultimate vision is a kind of theocracy in which their ancient and narrow beliefs rule our country. Personal freedom is at stake here.
Mary Fusco says
Mike ,This has nothing to do with Christian morality. It has to do with doctors performing medical procedures on underage girls. I don’t know what kind of doctor would do it. Most teenage girls have all the personal freedom they need which is what will get them into this situation in the first place. Half the parents have no clue what their kids are doing but sure do know how to call the lawyer when the time comes. Do you have any idea how traumatic this could be for a teenage girl to go through? This is why parental consent is a must. Teenage girls are not equipped to make these decisions alone. I consider myself a conservative and if the parents are willing to okay the procedure, then so be it. Maybe get their daughter some birth control so it doesn’t happen again. I raised 3 daughters, so I think I know what I’m talking about.
Every one I know that had an abortion at a young age has regretted it ….to the point of mental breakdowns. Parents need to be involved to prevents from making a.decizion that they may regret for the rest of their lives!
Can you by Cigs if you rare under 18? No
Can you buy alcohol if you are under 18? No
Can you you start taking Hormones treatments to change “your sex” if you are under 18? Yes
Can you kill an unborn child if you are under 18? Yes
WTH is wrong with you people?
Trump's Sharpie says
This girl is too immature to decide if an abortion is right for her. Let’s make her be a parent!
Alphonse Abonte says
Dems at it again! Planned Parenthood, the Dems population control!
Randy Jones says
Between the births of our two daughters, my wife had two miscarriages. As I watch my daughters grow up into young women, I often wonder who our other two children would be today had they come full term. I don’t think I could live with myself if we had ever killed our unborn children. Abortion is not a choice; it’s just wrong, and it’s wrong to exclude a parent from their CHILD’S decision making process.
We deal with the topic of reducing or ending abortions typically by putting restrictions on the woman. The reality is that there would be very few babies to ‘abort’ if men would start taking equal responsibility for contraception. Less than 10% of men use condoms, while the vast majority of women already use contraception. There is no reason men can’t use a condom even if their female partner is on the pill. But most do not because they don’t want the loss of sexual pleasure, which is hardly the reason of putting women through unintended pregnancies. Both sexes can use contraception at the same time, and there would be very few unplanned pregnancies. We are always told it takes two to make a baby, yet we still hold women primarily accountable. We are taking the long road to reducing abortions. We just need men to start taking equal responsibility for birth control and the abortion rates would be next to nil.