In Tuesday’s Daily, our colleagues opined against a New Hampshire law requiring minor women to notify their parents at least 48 hours prior to an abortion (Her Body, Her Choice, 12/06/2005). Our colleagues believe that women, when able to bear a child, obtain independence from their parents, and parents have no right to notification of this life-changing procedure. We believe the Daily has lost credibility regarding family values. Parents go to great lengths to support their children through financial and emotional means, but according to the Daily, they should have no legal role in their daughter’s abortion. Why, then, should parents bother raising their adolescent children?
We agree with our colleagues that parental notification is a lower hurdle to jump than parental consent, but think of all the other activities that require leaping over an even higher hurdle. A minor in school must obtain parental consent, regardless of maturity, to participate in field trips. Before obtaining a driver’s license, parents or guardians in some states must sign off on their child’s driving ability. The state entrusts parents with the right of child-rearing, but according to our colleagues, that right ends at the abortion clinic.
Obviously, those who favor abortion have an incentive to dehumanize its moral implications by treating it as a medical procedure. If abortion is nothing more than a medical procedure, it should adhere to the same regulations as any other medical procedure performed on a minor. Currently, the law exempts minors from obtaining consent for emergency, life-saving medical procedures because of implied consent. Abortion is a choice and by definition premeditated. Minors must obtain parental consent for other premeditated medical procedures such as root canals, appendectomies, tonsillectomies and heart transplants. Why is consent mandatory for these procedures while mere notification of an abortion is too much to ask?
Our colleagues also expressed concern that U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts will lead the Court in a more conservative direction and “chip away at the legacy of Roe v. Wade.” As conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s successor, Roberts does not add another anti-Roe vote to the Court. The Court still consists of four liberals, three conservatives, two moderates and a partridge in a pear tree. This minimal change to the Court’s ideological makeup should not cause abortion advocates to fear an overturn of Roe.
Even the most adamant supporters of “reproductive freedom” have issues with the legal foundation of Roe v. Wade and its affirmation case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Nowhere in the Constitution is there textual evidence of the “right to privacy” the court derived in the Roe decision. It would take nothing less than a secret Constitutional Decoder Ring to find this reasoning in the Constitution.
We should allow our legislators, as the elected voice of the people, to determine the merits and regulations of abortion and the role a parent has in his daughter’s rearing. Is there any logic in requiring parental consent for a root canal yet preventing parents from knowing if their daughter will undergo an abortion? Apparently, our colleagues believe there is. As a general principle, we believe parents are responsible for the upbringing of their children and should, at a minimum, receive notification of potentially life-changing events.
Reggie Brown and John Stiglich are LSA juniors. Will Kerridge is an Engineering junior. All are members of the Daily’s Editorial Board.