It's always discouraging when a woman's right to not share her body with an unwanted intruder is whittled away and when rich men play politics with the sacred matter of motherhood. But surely we've all gotten used to this, and we had another round of it last week when the Senate passed a bill making it a crime for anyone to take a pregnant girl across state lines so she could obtain an abortion without notifying her parents.
Nobody thinks this happens very often, so this bill has more symbolic effect than real. But the hand-wringing of the Pro-Choice side makes me almost sadder than the glee of the pro-lifers.
As I understand the law, every state that has parental notification laws has exceptions for rape and incest and a judicial bypass option. So when, god forbid, a child of 13 comes to me to ask for help getting her an out-of-state abortion because she's pregnant by her father and afraid to tell him, I don't want to just get her an abortion, I want to get her in front of a judge and get the abortion (which is required to be granted) and I want that judge to also set the wheels of justice in motion to get the kid out of that unsafe home. Simply taking her across state lines to get an abortion would be another kind of child abuse.
As for the more likely scenario, the sexually active 16 year old who's scared to talk to her parents, she's also old enough to get herself across state lines without physical assistance from me, and scared though she might be, she is, after all going to face their wrath if she stays pregnant, too.
I'm also skeptical of the pro-choice assumption that if teens have to go to their parents they'll be pressured against their best interests or abused. My somewhat limited experience as a Planned Parenthood clergy counselor and a minister is that moms are often more in favor of an abortion than daughters. Young women often have woefully romantic notions about motherhood, but their mothers have good reason to be more realistic. They know the sacrifice and sacredness of motherhood, and they know that their daughters are unprepared for both. As for abuse...Young people have recourse if they are being abused by their parents and the same adults who are available to help them get abortions are available to help them if parents fly out of control over their daughter's pregnancy.
Let this one go.