Dangerous Abortion Laws Essay, Research Paper
Does the sovereignty of a minor?s body also belong to their legal guardians and mainstream societies views of morality? The only answer to this question is absolutely not. Currently 28 states in the U.S. require parental consent or notification in order for a minor to receive abortion services.(Net 3) This is not a federally mandated law, but if the right-wing religious groups get their way it will become just that.(Net 3) Requiring parental involvement in a minor?s decision to abort is unacceptable due to; personal choice, birth control, and health risk, issues.
Although a judicial bypass can over-rule a parental involvement law, a minor must prove either extenuating circumstances or her maturity in this decision.(Net 4) It must be understood that this bypass is not nor will it ever be, an antidote for the terrible consequences a parental involvement law can hold towards a minor. When a minor applies for a judicial bypass a multitude of sources may influence the judge?s ruling. That is if the judge chooses to hear her case. Amongst these influences lurk variants of all kinds. Variants that may encumber the minor?s chances of having her petition approved may include: There are no set guidelines for a judge to follow, therefore personal discretion, bias, religion, and or opinions, may sway the judge to a truly unfair decision.(Net 4) When ruling on a minor?s level of maturity no set criteria designates a judges determinate factors. Having to go through the legal system can prolong a young women?s pregnancy, which in turn increases cost, health risks, and emotional strain. The judicial system is an intimidating infrastructure for most adults.(Net 4) Therefore it imposes a frightening experience for a minor who has already taken so much upon herself in order to obtain an abortion. A severe drawback to judicial bypass is there is absolutely no guarantee of privacy.(Net 4) An excellent example of this occurs quite frequently in small close-knit towns where parental involvement laws are strictly enforced, and shot-gun weddings are used as an alternative to abortion. Judges who handle these situations are often local elected officials,so their decisions may be altered for campaign purposes.(Net 4) In local municipal courts a minor chances of being recognized by someone is all too likely. So a minor?s chances of having her abortion remain confidential are potentially non-existent.(Net 4)
These reasons and many more prove beyond a doubt that judicial bypass is an essentially useless solvent to the problems caused by parental involvement laws.
One argument against these involvement laws involves a person?s right to choose the fate of their own body. Of course for a minor this right is limited due to the current laws in this country. But parental involvement laws can be used for the basic purpose of forcing a young woman to continue with an unwanted pregnancy.(Net 1) This and other unacceptable outcomes disproves the reasoning that a parent must be aware of their minor?s abortion, if not in complete control of it. Parental knowledge, just as pregnancy, is a choice to be made by the individual who has the most at stake; the young girl who lives in fear and confusion due to the uncertainty of her parents reactions. Also whether or not these reactions compromise her safety mentally, emotionally, and physically.(Net 1) In the event that parental involvement laws are overturned by all courts, both federal and local, young minor?s can safely make their own choices where pregnancy is concerned. In fact studies show that, with or with out these laws, 61% of minors inform their parents of their abortion before the procedure.(Net 3) In the issue of choice, these laws put undue stress and strain on the young woman who?s future is at stake.
This particular drawback brings problems of it?s own, one in particular, out-of-state abortions. Often times to avoid parental involvement laws a minor will have a friend or family member transport them to another state where these laws don?t exist. Anti-choice and Pro-life organizations have attacked this by proposing the Child Custody Protection Act of 1998.(News) This act gives parents the right to sue anyone, including family members, for transporting their minor daughter across state lines to receive an abortion without their knowledge. This bill was proposed under the guise of protecting the family unit.(News) Where as the actual outcome of this would be an additional strain on families by dividing them, just because some people believe it?s their God-given right to take away a woman?s choice in the fate of her own body. Personal choice and decision out weigh the choices made by others, even parents, religion, and society at large.
Can we possibly justify any laws which may hinder any woman from preventing an unwanted pregnancy? Not as long as deterrent measures such as birth control and tubal ligation exist without restraints and or controversy. Birth control is available without parental consent or notification in 49 states for woman over the age of 15.(Net 3) Birth control is recognized world over for it?s merits in letting women choose the right time in their lives to become pregnant, if at all. In fact we have laws that ensure a minor to confidential reproductive services. But we seem to over-look the fact that abortion is a preventative measure against untimely pregnancy, just like birth control. A federally mandated law that involves birth control is commonly called Title X. (Net 3) This ensures that all women have confidential and professional access to: disease and gynelogical testing, other reproductive health services, family planning, and educational services; no matter the circumstances or their current financial situation. As abortion coincides with being a measure against an undesired pregnancy. It should therefore be treated as other measures are treated, as a personal and private choice which no other human being has the right or power to undermine or override.
One of the greatest dangers during a teen pregnancy is the health risks. Whether the risks are physical, emotional or mental they all possess consequences that can be harmful or even fatal. Physically the hazards of a forced teenage pregnancy are numerous for the potential mother and child.(Net 2)
Dangers for the mother include, but are not limited to: premature labor, anemia, high blood pressure, placenta problems, and various pregnancy complications. Death can occur more often in very young mothers and those with serious sexually transmitted diseases.(Net 2) The risks for a baby born to a teenage mother are far to high to overlook. Prenatal care and the mother?s lifestyle, before and after conception, are two of the most important factors of the baby?s welfare.(Net 2) If a pregnancy is voluntary, planned, and prepared for the risks to both parties is greatly decreased. Teenage mother?s often overlook prenatal care which increases the risk of birth defects.(Net 2) Teenagers often possess erratic and unhealthy lives and habits. Poor eating habits, smoking, drinking, drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, and behavioral problems may increasingly expose the baby to health problems. Another common problem is teens more often than not don?t gain enough weight during pregnancy, this dramatically increases the risk of a low – birth weight baby. (Net 2)These babies are far more likely to die within their first few months of life then those of healthy weight. Then comes the danger of emotional and mental trauma due to the possibility that her parents have to be involved with her decision against her will. This fear will more than likely cause a delay in getting needed medical attention. This development of caution and fear greatly increases the risk of a back alley abortion and possible death.Another hazrd is the delay caused by the need to obtain an out-of-state abortion. Many minors may already suffer from verbal and physical abuse by parents. The news of an unplanned pregnancy may result in a Chernobyl-like effect. These reasons and many more make requring parental involvement all the more absurd.
Requiring parental involvement in a minor?s desicion to abort is unacceptable due to personal choice, birth control and health risk issues. Those who push for laws to hinder minors from making informed and individual choices about abortion must remember, that birth is a choice not a requirment. Whenever the thought crosses a person?s mind to pass judgement on any woman?s desicion to abort must stop themselves and realize that this situation is serious, hazrdous, and above all private. No matter the age of the woman or the man invovled. Right-wing groups say that young women are susceptible to being coerced into a decision by outside sources, such as their counselors or boyfriends. So I ask these people to tell me what?s worse; coercing a minor to abort or the parents forcing their daughter to bear an unplanned and unwanted child?
Complete Thesis Paper
Thesis: Requiring parental involvement in a minor?s descision to abort is unacceptable due to; personal choice, birth control, and health risk, issues.
1. Personal choice overrides all desicisions made by outside influences.
2. The principles of providing confidential abortion are logically the same as birth control dipensation.
3. Dangerous health risks make laws that may force teens to endure more than they choose or are able to, therefore such laws are never appropriate.
1. Judicial bypass can make parental involvement laws more feasible.
2. Possible side effects.
Work Citation Page
1. Barans, T. ?Women?s Reproductive Self-Determination.? Pro-choice Right to Abortion. (www.wordwiz72.com/choice.html) *(Net 1)
2. Harris R, Yvette. ?Adolescent Abortion.? Society. July-Aug.1997
v34. p20-22. *(Mag 1)
3. ?Health Risks.? March of the Dimes Foundation. (www.noah.cuny.edu/pregnancy/march_of_dimes/pre_preg.plan /teenfact.html) *(Net 2)
4. ?Judicial Bypass.? (www.prochoice.about.com/newsissues/prochoice/msub12.htm) *(Net 4)
5. ?Parental Consent for FamilyPlanning.? APHA Fact Sheet. (www.apha.org/legislative/factsheets/fs10.htm) *(Net 3)
6. ?Republican leaders vow to take quick action on Child Custody Protection Act.? National Right to Life News. June 9,1998. v25. p1. *(Mag 2)