With Election Day inching nearerand nearer, the question on the minds of most Americans and Floridians iswhether to vote for Bush or Kerry? I would like to pull you away from thedaunting task of trying to decide who you want to be your next presidentand push you into one of the issues that is also going to be on theballots. The issue that I would like to discuss is the proposed amendmentone. Amendment one deals with parental notification of the termination of aminor’s pregnancy. In other words the parents or guardian of a minor mustbe notified before an abortion can proceed.
Before a minor, a child underthe age of 18, can do just about anything they must have the consent oftheir parents, but not when it comes to them having an abortion. Childrenare not mature enough to make many of their own decisions, but they aremature enough to make such a life-changing conclusion on their own? It hasalready been decided that it is the woman’s choice to have an abortion ornot so this amendment does not ask for parental consent just parentalnotification. Once you have decided on Bush or Kerry I would like you togive some consideration not to taking away the privacy rights of minors,but protecting the rights of their parents and voting YES for AmendmentOne. Opponents of this amendment say that Amendment one violates a minor’sright to privacy. If this is the case then when a parent gives consent forany other activity it is also violating that right. So what are the parentsthere for? Every other decision that minor makes, or involves a minor mustfirst go through their parents.
Here in the state of Florida before a minorcan get a piercing or even a tattoo they need authorized permission fromthe parent. Piercing and tattoos are far more minor situations yet andstill the parent must first give consent. Now it is more than obvious thatabortion is not a minor surgical procedure. If done improperly or even tooften then there is a chance that the mother may not be able to havechildren in the long run, not to mention the other physical, emotional andspiritual trials and tribulations that are involved with such a majorsurgical procedure. With such high risk involved the parent or guardian ofa minor having this operation should at least have knowledge of thisprocedure. When a minor goes to the doctor for any other medical analysis,diagnostic, or even treatment parental consent must first be given.
Theparent of that minor has to sign a form stating that it is alright for thedoctor to perform such procedures. So the parent must give consent for aprocedure that could very well save their child’s life but for a procedurethat could harm their child and grandchild the parent doesn’t even have tobe notified? Now if the law is passed it is not saying that the parent mustgive consent it is just stating that they must first be informed. When a young girl becomes pregnant a lot of the times she is feelingalone and confused and even more so scared. Not only scared of having thebaby but scared of what their parents might think, say, or even do assumingthey were to find out. By getting an abortion they feel as though no onehas to know and their parents won’t be angry, disappointed or ashamed ofthem.
If these girls knew that their parents would find out about theirpregnancy regardless of whether or not they were to get an abortion itmight make it a little easier for them to confront their parents abouttheir pregnancy. In this situation many young women, even older women, arenot quite sure what to do and still are in desperate need of guidance, andtheir parents are usually more than willing to give it. In many instancesthe parent can essentially change the girl’s perception on aborting theirunborn child. However there are circumstances where parents are not quiteso understanding of their child’s decision making. There are somesituations where the young girl is abused, whether it is physical ormental, or kicked out of the home after their parents become aware of theirpregnancy. Though this type of situation does not happen often it doeshappen.
If this were the case then there are ways to have the parentnotification waived by providing a third party or “judicial bypass” tointervene on the behalf of the minor. It is not fair to force a child intomaking a decision that could very well change her life, while she is scaredand alone. This amendment does not ask for consent it just protects theparent’s right to protect and guide their daughters in making the rightdecision during such a critical time in their lives. Many opponents of this amendment are just against abortion alltogether. It has already been decided that, whether morally right or wrong,the decision to have an abortion is ultimately up to the impregnated woman. This amendment is not saying that abortion is morally right it is justsaying that the parents have a right to know about it.
Those that might beagainst this amendment would say that this law is a way to try and limitthe access to abortions. That is not the direct intent of this amendmenthowever it is a hopeful outcome. They may also say that it would forceyoung girls to seek abortions in other ways like traveling out of state,seeking to have the procedure performed by doctors that are willingregardless of the law, or even performing self-inflicted abortions. Unfortunately this is a possibility.
This type of back-alley procedure isalmost inevitable with any sort of restriction on abortion. When peoplewant to do something they will do it regardless of what the law says. During the prohibition there was moonshine and even today there is thestill the sale of illegal drugs. There are going to be those who try andevade the law but that does not keep the law from trying to protect thepeople. Though this amendment is a way to reduce the number of abortions itis not the only way.
Now the amendment is allowing the parents to benotified prior to the abortion, but there should be some measures takenbefore we get into this situation. Parents want to be informed if theirchild is seeking an abortion, but they need to take a few steps to helpprevent the pregnancy in the first place. Parents should take time early onto communicate and teach their children, not just their daughters, aboutsex and the results that could come of it. Talking to children early onabout what to do in the event that they do become pregnant may eliminatethe need to have this law passed. Parents not only need to teach theirdaughters about what to do in the event of an unwanted pregnancy, but theyalso need to develop a relationship with their daughters so their daughterswill not be afraid or ashamed to tell them about what is going on in theirlives.
They can’t vote, they can’t smoke or drink, they can’t even go on aschool field trip without the permission from their parents and yet theycan kill the very life that grows inside them without telling a soul. Itdoesn’t matter if you are for or against abortion. Whether you think it ismorally right or not is not the question at hand. The question is if aminor has to get permission for every other decision that they make, whythen is it legally right for them to make such a huge life alteringdecision without letting their parents know that they are even consideringit. The amendment does not ask the minor to obtain the parents permissionto get an abortion just that someone tell them that their daughter is aboutto get one. I know the opponents want to ensure that the minor’s right toprivacy is not violated but what about the parent’s right to raise,protect, teach and guide their children.
Vote YES for Amendment 1.