Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Have They Lost Their Minds?

You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think. -- Milton Berle

Yesterday the Senate passed a measure that would effectively punish those adults who assist a teenager in crossing state lines to obtain an abortion. This is not some attempt to strengthen family bonds or keep teenagers from endangering themselves, it is a bald-faced attempt to chip away at abortion rights in this country.

I will refrain from having the entire abortion-rights discussion because I understand it is a very polarizing discussion and I respect that it may be difficult for people to engage in. However, I would like to point out some logical inconsistencies here, if I may.

First of all, are there any laws in this country that prohibit an adult from taking a minor across state lines to obtain any other medical services? Suppose you live in a small border town that does not have a medical clinic that provides treatment for STDs or other services, even those as mundane as getting a suspicious mole removed. Is it a crime to seek those services elsewhere? If the closest clinic is in a town out of your particular state and you ask your aunt or uncle or best friend's mother to drive you, is that a crime? If the point of this measure is to ensure full medical disclosure among legal families (biological, adoptive, guardianships, etc.), then the measure ought not to single out abortion services. Other medical procedures are far more risky than outpatient abortions and if a parent ought to know, then there ought to be no limits on the particular service.

The age of medical consent varies from state to state, but generally speaking, once a minor of that age, their medical records are considered entirely confidential, even from their parents. As a teen, one of my close friends who suffered from bipolar disorder was not required to share any information from her therapy sessions with anyone, including her medication management. She was considered old enough to sign herself out of a treatment facility at the age of 13 regardless of her parents' input. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that a simple outpatient procedure is considered more dangerous than a lifelong mental illness in this case?

If the politicians are hell-bent on challenging abortion rights, then let them call a spade a spade. Have the discourse on a logical level instead of sneaking around talking about taking the moral high ground. This measure may pass and be signed into law by Dubya (oh, my stomach hurts just writing that), and the rest of the world will continue to be confused at what America considers important. Families come in all forms, those we are born into, and those we choose. Some people don't have the good fortune to be able to trust their parents and are forced to find others to turn to in times of crisis. We ought to support our teens in using their best judgement to solve their own problems and take responsibility for their mistakes instead of forcing them to turn to the people our politicians think they ought to consult.


ammogirl said...

This is a horrible development. The religious right is slowly gaining control of our country...I am glad to be leaving it soon. Personal choices are just that: personal. They need to remain that way.

You are right, this IS a very polarizing discussion. However, it is one of the most important issues facing our society today. It represents EVERYTHING. I get so tired of defending my view to the other side - it's hard for me to handle when they spew such hate and nonsense. Ugh.

Miss Devylish said...

Ugh.. I try to breathe carefully when I see stuff like this. The real bastard only has what.. another year or so to fuck things up. I hope and pray it doesn't get so bad. I don't think they'll chip away so much we won't have any rights left. There are a zillion people who are on our side dear.. it'd be a huge fight. This is frustrating for sure and I wish they'd focus on something else.. but it's not over yet.

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