Author: has written 8 posts for this blog.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

28 Responses

  1. Mitsy
    Mitsy July 6, 2009 at 9:42 pm |

    You obviously can’t imagine what it is to be a parent.

    It doesn’t matter what the operation is, parental consent to an abortion isn’t about “controlling women’s bodies” or whatever other nonsense you people fantasize about, it’s about parental rights. Imagine your child having a major surgery somewhere and you don’t know about it.

    A child doesn’t have the mental capacity to consent to surgery. I’m sure 12 – 17 year olds believe they have the capacity to consent, but society agrees that they do not, which is why they’re considered to be minors. Only a parent should have the right to consent to surgery for an underage child, and no one has the right to take that away from them.

    Why is it that parents should consent to their child being given an aspirin, but the idea of them knowing about their daughter having an abortion is just out of the question.

    Don’t you find the idea of your child being taken somewhere by a stranger, without your knowledge, and having surgery to be horrible? Well, I forgot who I’m talking to. You would probably throw a party in celebration if any of your daughters had an abortion.

    “a young woman’s fundamental right to control her own body is being set aside in favor of abortion statistics.”

    NO! Minors do not have autonomy! What is it that you don’t understand about that? Until the day you turn 18, parents call the shots, it’s their right and they are the ones that have the best interests of the child in mind.

    You’re basically saying that parents don’t have rights or shouldn’t have rights. Parents are very conservative when it comes to their own children, and people like you realize this, which is why you want to take away parents’ ability to raise children with their own values.

  2. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. July 7, 2009 at 6:26 am |

    You’re basically saying that parents don’t have rights or shouldn’t have rights. Parents are very conservative when it comes to their own children, and people like you realize this, which is why you want to take away parents’ ability to raise children with their own values.

    FABULOUS!! My favorite hobbyhorse of ALL TIME.

    1) Children are people. Human beings. They have human rights. Including rights of bodily autonomy. They should be “allowed” to have an abortion, take aspirin and pierce their navel as soon as they have sufficient cognitive development to understand what is happening.

    2) Parent’s do not own their children. Parental rights are the outgrowth of the idea that children are property. In any other context we would all agree that the policy of “I have the right to control another person’s medical decisions” would be immoral and unethical.

    But in our society children aren’t people. They’re chattel. They exist to fulfill their parents’ desires rather than to experience life as separate, whole people valued in their own right. Its a sick sad world we live in and only partially because you think parents have a right to determine the “values” of their children.

  3. Feminists For Choice » Tuesday Click List

    […] Abortion Rights – Feminist Daily News Sarah Palin’s Anti-Choice Legacy – Feministe Women’s Media Center’s Statement Against Sexism & Sarah Palin – […]

  4. William
    William July 7, 2009 at 8:52 am |

    Misty: are we still having trouble with the meaning of words like “endowed” and “inalienable”? I know, I know, you really want to be the god-king of your household but one of the great things about living in a constitutional republic such as ours is that rights don’t really depend upon relationships. Even if that wasn’t the case, the supreme court has set reproductive rights outside the purview of parental authority and most states have been steadily moving medical care more and more under the control of the people who are receiving it.

    I’m sure it hurts you terribly, though, so we’ll see about rustling you up a waaaaaaaambulance.

  5. chava
    chava July 7, 2009 at 9:40 am |

    Hm.

    I’m always on the fence about this one, because I do think children need a legal caretaker in medical matters, and it feels to me like abortion should be the legal exception to parental consent rather than the rule.

    On one end of the spectrum you have the teenager who is a victim of family abuse and needs an abortion. On the other end you have the six year old who may be terrified of chemo and refuse cancer treatment because it hurts.

    Generally, parents are also the on the hook for medical expenses their children may incur, and as such should have reasonable rights to decide which procedure they will purchase for their child. Note the key adjective, reasonable.

  6. Shell
    Shell July 7, 2009 at 9:45 am |

    There’s a lot of room for anxiety in this topic; I know it has always troubled me. Of course it’s horrible for many young women who have dogmatic ignorant parents. If my 13-year-old daughter became pregnant I hope she would know that she could come to me for a ride to the clinic because I would take her myself. But…as much as I am pro-choice, and as much as I sympathize and empathize with those girls, the idea of someone performing a medical procedure on my child without my knowledge fills me with fear and anger, not at the child, which makes all the difference, but still.

    I’m a full-on Dawkins atheist and in my fantasy world parents can’t force their kids to attend church or eschew public education either, but there are so many ways that dogma harms families and children. It grieves me to side with anything that might help those wretches terrorize their daughters further. But there are legitimate problems when it comes to medical procedures. I can’t even let my son go to soccer camp without release forms. On what legal basis can we make exceptions in the rules about minors and medical care for abortion? I’m really asking, by the way, because I would like to agree.

  7. Finch
    Finch July 7, 2009 at 9:48 am |

    Mitsy:

    Has it ever occurred to you that some young women seek abortions because they were sexually abused by one of their own family members? Do you really think that a girl is going to go up to her mother and say “Bad news, Dad raped me and now I’m pregnant. Please sign this form so I can have an abortion.” That “rape or incest” clause exists for a reason, you know.

  8. Michele
    Michele July 7, 2009 at 10:46 am |

    When I was 17 my school had a medical ethics symposium discussing a teenager’s right to autonomy. Basically, teenagers don’t “belong” to their parents and should be allowed to have the right to care for their bodies. Many parents don’t believe abortion is right ideologically and would force that opinion upon their 17 year old daughters despite the fact that it is NOT THEIR BODIES. Requiring a parent to sign off on an abortion is a serious imposition on the rights of the daughter. It’s her body. You don’t own it! If you’re as good a parent as you think you are, hopefully your daughter will come to you and talk to you about it, but if she doesn’t want to, that’s her right. It’s her body.

  9. Rebecca
    Rebecca July 7, 2009 at 11:00 am |

    Oh good, another parental-rights wingnut. Allow me to add to the pile-on.

    You obviously can’t imagine what it is to be a parent.

    We’ve discussed this topic before, and not a few commenters here can, indeed, imagine what it is like to be a parent because (shock and horror in the feminist blogosphere!) they are parents. All you’re telling us is that you know your child doesn’t trust you enough to come to you if she gets pregnant, and that you’d rather her seriously hurt herself trying to self-abort than have a safe procedure. I would suggest that you work on getting your children to trust you rather than supporting laws that put them and other women in severe danger.

    It doesn’t matter what the operation is, parental consent to an abortion isn’t about “controlling women’s bodies” or whatever other nonsense you people fantasize about, it’s about parental rights.

    So…it’s about controlling girls’ bodies. Big diff.

    A child doesn’t have the mental capacity to consent to surgery. I’m sure 12 – 17 year olds believe they have the capacity to consent, but society agrees that they do not, which is why they’re considered to be minors. Only a parent should have the right to consent to surgery for an underage child, and no one has the right to take that away from them.

    If a pregnant minor chooses to go through with the pregnancy, she will choose every aspect of the medical care relating to the birth. Not you. If she has the mental capacity to choose a hospital, choose anaesthesia or not, choose whether to keep the baby or adopt, she surely has the mental capacity to choose abortion.

    Why is it that parents should consent to their child being given an aspirin, but the idea of them knowing about their daughter having an abortion is just out of the question.

    Because there isn’t a large far-right wing in this country that says taking aspirin is a mortal sin, and most parents won’t beat or disown their daughter for taking an aspirin.

    You’re basically saying that parents don’t have rights or shouldn’t have rights. Parents are very conservative when it comes to their own children, and people like you realize this, which is why you want to take away parents’ ability to raise children with their own values.

    No, we’re saying children are people, not property. Though I’d be pretty happy if fewer children were raised with your “values,” it’s against my values to take them away from you simply because of your beliefs.

  10. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe July 7, 2009 at 11:40 am |

    This is just another of the many reasons Sarah Palin won’t be missed.

    As for the “parental autonomy” that Misty seems so fond of, it has limits. We don’t let parents mutilate or abuse their children, even under color of sincere religious belief. We don’t let them withhold medical care from their children. And we shouldn’t let them force their children to give birth against their will.

  11. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe July 7, 2009 at 11:41 am |

    Sorry, it’s Mitsy, not Misty. Getting someone’s name right is a basic courtesy, no matter how misguided that person is.

  12. ThickRedGlasses
    ThickRedGlasses July 7, 2009 at 11:44 am |

    Damn, I’m glad Mitsy isn’t my mommy. Or Sarah Palin.

  13. sis
    sis July 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm |

    I don’t see where she is “shaming” young women for having sex. She is open about having had premarital sex, and we certainly know one of her children did, and she supported her, encouraged her to be open, not hide. That’s the opposite of shaming.

    I think parents whether liberal or conservative are going to be crossing the floor on this one. Partly because they are ‘responsible’ for their minor children, by law, but also because abortion is a medical procedure. In Canada, consent is not required, but that’s more a function of universal healthcare. Who will be billed for an abortion in the States, if not the parents? Rarely will a 16 year old have that kind of disposable income, on her own, and since men usually bail, let’s not pretend she’s not there on her own.

    In the counseling sessions after, the clinci must advise them to talk with their parents and provide birth control education and materials.”

  14. choice joyce
    choice joyce July 7, 2009 at 12:47 pm |

    I think there is evidence that most of the decrease in teen abortions in states with parental consent laws is offset by increases in neighboring states without such laws, as many girls travel out of state.

  15. Sis
    Sis July 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  16. Nyara
    Nyara July 7, 2009 at 4:03 pm |

    Why is it that parents should consent to their child being given an aspirin, but the idea of them knowing about their daughter having an abortion is just out of the question.

    Maybe because denying an aspirin (or a tattoo/piercing/field trip/whatever other erroneous comparison people come up with) is not even remotely on a par with forcing someone to give birth. I honestly don’t understand how people can fail to grasp that.

    Parents do not have the right to deny their daughters an abortion. (Or force them to obtain one, for that matter.) Your so-called “parental rights” are nowhere near as valuable as the child’s right bodily autonomy. Hence why parents are not permitted to rape or beat their children. (Shocking. I know.)

  17. ElleBeMe
    ElleBeMe July 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm |

    I am a parent and Mitsy, I am aginst parental notfication/permission.

    If my child is old enough to have sex, she is old enough to decide what she wishes to do with said consequences of sex – be it pregnancy, disease, or nothing.

    However if you are gung-ho on parental notification/consent laws, I expect your full support behind a parent’s right to force her child to gestate or abort. If kids need permission to abort a pregnancy, they must also need parental permission to remain pregnant..

    What is good for the goose…

  18. Feminists For Choice » Sarah Palin, Parental Consent, & How Her Political Ideologies Damage Women’s Health

    […] me make this clear: Sarah Palin's legacy in Alaska has been an anti-woman one. Apparently Sarah Palin thinks it’s cool to put young women in high risk situations with their […]

  19. Shell
    Shell July 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm |

    Hmmm. It’s not that I don’t see the point, but the “it’s her body” argument doesn’t always hold for me. If your 16 yo wants a nose job it’s not her body under the law, for example, and I think all states have an age of consent for sexual activity, meaning your boyfriend can go to jail for statutory rape even if you give “consent.” We restrict their bodies legally in other ways, like drinking age laws. Teens can use condoms and other methods without legal restraint (right?) but from what I understand one needs parental consent for oral contraception because it does introduce a chemical with certain risks into that body in question. And someone brought up a good point above as well: If your daughter gets an abortion and doesn’t pay the bill, to whom goes the collection notice? You. Because a minor cannot make a legal contract to incur a debt, but we are legally responsible for their medical care. So for me it’s not a question of “ownership” but responsibility. I don’t feel like I “own” my kid, but I am legally bound to his care. Parental consent seems much more complicated an issue to me, especially legally. I wish I could settle my thoughts on it but so far no. sigh

  20. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe July 7, 2009 at 9:49 pm |

    I have a question for Mitsy and all the other “parental rights trump all” people out there:

    Suppose you knew an underage girl who had become pregnant. Suppose she was reluctant to tell her parents because she knew they would pressure her into having an abortion and she didn’t want one. Would you be so quick to demand that the parents be informed?

  21. Angela
    Angela July 7, 2009 at 10:14 pm |

    Really good point Bitter Scribe, even if it is in the form of a question.

  22. Lyndsay
    Lyndsay July 7, 2009 at 11:07 pm |

    Well, I do agree with Shell that it’s not as simple as “it’s her body”. At what age should a person be legally allowed to buy alcohol, cigarettes or drive a car? America denies the right to anyone under 21 to buy alcohol. Isn’t a 20 year old or 18 year old or possibly even younger old enough to decide what to put in hir body? It’s impossible to know the “right age” but laws have to decide on something.
    To be clear, I do agree with the more specific reasons given of why there shouldn’t be parental consent laws (i.e. abusive parents). It’s just not as simple as “bodily autonomy”. Do you think a 13-year old should be able to whatever they want with their bodies and parents shouldn’t be able to say anything?

  23. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl July 7, 2009 at 11:13 pm |

    If a teenaged girl doesn’t want her parents to know, she won’t let them get stuck with the bill from the clinic BECAUSE SHE DOESN”T WANT THEM TO KNOW SHE HAD AN ABORTION. Also, most clinics make you pay upfront.

    When it came to my Preacher’s Kid friend in high school whose parents would’ve thrown her out if they knew she was pregnant (and she was pretty damn sure of that, because a few years before she had told her parents about her uncle molesting her and they blamed her for being molested). This PK sold her Discman (hey, it was 1993, the Discman was big), sold her scientific calculator and told her parents it was stolen, sold a bunch of crap, begged her friends for money, and if we hadn’t all managed to gather round and raise the money, she was prepared to take her house’s electronics to the pawn shop and fake a burglary. She didn’t want to do any of this stuff, but it beat the alternative. The reason she didn’t have to was because I emptied out my savings account to cover the shortfall. She did eventually pay me back, by the way.

    Oh, and last I heard, PK (who’s now 33, not 16) hadn’t spoken to her parents in 8 years. They flipped out when she started dating a South Asian guy who wasn’t even nominally Christian, and refused to attend the wedding. THey’ve never met their little brown grandkids and don’t want to. But they still socialize with the uncle who molested PK, and were furious when PK told all the extended family members with little girls at home never ever to leave them unsupervised with this pervert. See, because PK told the whole family she was molested so they’d know WHY to keep thier kids away from him. According to PK’s parents, though, she made it up for attention, and to use it as an excuse for her filthy whoring around before marriage. They also think their niece is lying about HER child molestation by this same guy (PK going public to the whole family helped her cousin to eventually do the same).

    These are the kind of parents girls are terrified of telling, not the responsible ones who love their kids and take good care of them. My mother was passionately anti-abortion, but she always told my sister and me that if we got pregnant and decided to have an abortion, to let her know ahead of time. She said she wouldn’t try to change our minds, she just wanted to be able to support us, because we shouldn’t go through that alone. Neither my sister nor I got pregnant in high school, but I would’ve definitely told my way anti-abortion mom if I had. She made it crystal-clear that these were HER beliefs, and if I was absolutely sure I wanted an abortion, she’d come with me to hold my hand, because I was her baby.

  24. TeresaINPa
    TeresaINPa July 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm |

    misty, the overwhelming majority of teens that have abortions do so with the support of at least one parent. when they do not tell their parents they have a good reason. Please be smarter if you are going to post on even nominal feminst sites like this one. Your whole argument is a straw-woman.

  25. Sis
    Sis July 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm |

    I resent you telling someone to be “smarter” just because she disagrees with you. I’ve read through this site, and based on that I could say I found a lot of stupidity.

    Of course, this is your site so I guess you can continue that if you want.

    I support abortion on demand, at any stage of the gestation. I support the young women who didn’t know what to do, or how to get out of it, and in shock and fear, ran from a dying fetus hastily shoved in a blanket under a tree.

    The majority of women who need an abortion don’t live anywhere near where they could get one. So I support telling the truth about Palin’s stance on birth-control and sex-ed. It’s seems to me like the only people you’re really harming when you propagate lies is the young women you say you’re defending.

    Palin said she’s going to compromise to ‘advising’. While I’m not for that either, what I see here is a concerned parent, who we can work with. That’s a lot better than Obama, who doesn’t seem to think women can make a decision on their own. Oh yes, he’ll allow abortion, but the women should talk about it with their doctor and pastor/priest/church.

    And unlike one of the previous posters, I don’t have to tell anyone else’s story.

  26. William
    William July 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm |

    It’s just not as simple as “bodily autonomy”. Do you think a 13-year old should be able to whatever they want with their bodies and parents shouldn’t be able to say anything?

    Lets say we assume that you’re right and people under some age don’t have a right to bodily autonomy. In that situation a legal guardian is not in control of the person’s body, they are merely the people with decision making power under a very specific set of circumstances. The power to control the body of the underage person is essentially the power to decide what is “for their own good” in medical situations. Furthermore, this power tends to default to the least risky action or the nonaction. A parent cannot give consent for their 8 year old to have sex, though they might consent to their 8 year old getting their tonsils removed. Why the difference?

    Well, its because society has decided that 8 year olds shouldn’t have sex because they lack the emotional or intellectual resources to manage a sexual relationship and at a certain point there are physical risks as well, therefore any such relationship would be harmful and is verboten. And thats where you run into a problem with pregnancy. Pregnancy comes with risks but it carries no material gains. Keeping a pregnancy isn’t like getting an appendix removed or getting a heart transplant. Under very few (read: no) circumstances is being pregnant medically necessary. Moreover, being pregnant comes with quite a few medical risks, risks which increase as age decreases. In order to allow parents to force a minor child’s pregnancy to come to term you have to create an exception in the law in which the parents are allowed to use the minor child’s body in such a way as to provide gain to another (the fetus). That looks a hell of a lot more like pimping out your kid than it does like telling them they can’t have a smoke or get that wicked tattoo of a dragon on their face.

    To maintain the status quo (of parents being medical guardians who must make decisions based on well-being) one would have to make parents get their children abortions in all or most cases. In order to maintain parental authority, one would have to allow for a situation in which parents use the body of the child they have authority over for someone else’s gain at significant risk to the child.

    The third option is to give the pregnant person the right to make their own damned decisions. Given that in most states if you’re old enough to get pregnant but not old enough to vote you’re probably old enough to be tried as an adult, I don’t really see the legal disconnect.

  27. Off the Stove « Smile Pretty & Watch Your Back

    […] In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure out what in the world is going on with Sarah Palin, and why she seems like a pathological liar, why she is being framed as a feminist martyr to The Democracy while clearly working against the interests of women in general. […]

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.