spin on the abortion debate

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  • #104149
    DreyDrey
    Participant

    Do you think parents should have to be notified if an underage girl wants an abortion? Why or why not?

    #104151
    maggie52maggie52
    Participant

    My answer would be NO, bc if you believe in the OTHER services we give young people confidentially ( birth control, drug issues, STD’s etc.) then you cannot really separate that one item out ( as long as it is a legal proceudre in the USA)

    #104152
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    No

    #104153
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    There has to be some personal accountability, and in that, self-determination. Once a teenager is old enough to have sex, and subsequently has a child, and can then go on to make decisions on behalf of that child…at say 16…how can we argue that that same girl isn’t “old enough” to make decisions on her own behalf?

    #104154
    amykamyk
    Participant

    Not a chance, if the girl doesn’t want her parents notified. Not only will it make it harder for girls to seek abortion early, but you run the risk of getting the girl kicked out of her home. Still happens, unfortunately.

    Incidentally, I got a talking-points thing from Planned Parenthood yesterday, questions to ask presidential candidates (I’m in Iowa, and yes, you really do get to meet and talk to these people repeatedly for months. Kudos to Gephardt and Robt Reich (in for Kerry) for avoiding the cheap “children are our future” lines with me when I was enormously pregnant; looked me in eye, not belly.) One of the questions was about requiring all hospitals, even religiously-affiliated ones, to provide emergency morning-after contraception to rape victims. Hadn’t thought about that one before. Can you imagine, though, being raped & maybe beaten & then brought to a hospital that wouldn’t give you the drug? Yiiii.

    amy

    #104155
    DreyDrey
    Participant

    what if the girl in question was your daughter? wouldn’t you want to know?

    #104156
    DrWuStar *DrWuStar*
    Participant

    i say no. i agree that when a girl is old enough to make decisions to have sex, use a certain birth control method, etc., then she is old enough to make her own decisions regarding the outcome. sure, if i had a daughter, i would want to know if she were going to have an abortion. but i think it would be my responsibility as her parent to foster an honest relationship in which she would tell me. IMHO, the government should really only step in when laws are necessary to protect people’s safety and well-being. fostering good parent-teenager relationships is the parent’s job, not the government’s. just my $.02 though.

    #104157
    amykamyk
    Participant

    drey, if for some reason my under-18 daughter (and I do have one) was scared to come talk to us about the fact that she was pregnant, but wanted an abortion, I’d want to make sure that abortion was easy as possible for her to get. If that meant I wouldn’t know about it, then fine.

    The very last thing I’d want would be for her to be scared and teen-dumb, afraid to go near a clinic…and have me find out when she was at 4 months because she was starting to look pregnant. Or because she’d tried to kill herself. Or because she’d run off and done something stupid with the father. Life can look pretty all-or-nothing when you’re mid-teens and pregnant.

    Would I want to know she was having sex? Sure I would. But I don’t pretend I’d know about it whether or not she gets pregnant before she hits 18, unless she told me. I remember being a teenager pretty well, and there’s an awful lot that slips under parents’ radar when they’re busy getting the bills paid, raising other sibs, staying sane.

    I really hope our relationship will be good enough that she’ll feel comfortable talking to me about these things…but if she’s not, I want her to have maximum freedom to get an abortion if she needs one. Same goes for getting contraceptives without my permission.

    amy

    #104158
    DreyDrey
    Participant

    I happen to agree with you guys, I’m just playing devil’s advocate. I’m not sure though if there should be a lower age limit on that. Does a 13 year old girl have the same capacity to deal with the situation as a 16 year old girl? I think there is a difference, but I’m not sure where to draw the line. Perhaps below the age of consent.

    Also, another problem enters with extremely young pregnant teens (13, 14), is that it could be the result of a molestation relationship that may involve the parents. But, if it is a relationship that does not involve the parents, should the parents know about it so they can press charges or get the girl some counseling?

    I would also rather have my daughter be able to get condoms and/or an abortion than do something more drastic like suicide, but I think if my daughter was very young, I would expect to be told about it.

    Does anyone know what the law is in this case? Are parents required to be notified under a certain age? Is it required for abortion only, or birth control too? What if the parent of the girl specifically asks?

    #104159
    MD97IBCLC2B2010MD97IBCLC2B2010
    Participant

    I agree w/ all the above! absolutely NOT! even if it were my own daughter- if she is reponsible enough to go to the clinic etc… then no notification needed- I don’t know all the laws I know some people/ states do want this clause- Most states- but would have to check specifically allow confidential health care to any minor (of any age) pertaining to sex- ie birth control care of STD or pregnancy related- there’s also the issue of “emancipated” minor- one who has had a child or lives on their own- they don’t need parental consent for any medical care- no age noted- It gets very sticky- I had a teenager who came with her mom to the apt, she had told her mom that she had these painful “lesions” on her vaginal area, and her mom even saw them, I talked to her alone, and it turned out that yes she was sexually active, and no she didn’t want her mom to know! So, this looked like herpes- what do I do? Mom knows something is there and asks me what it is. Legally, I can’t tell her about daughters activities- I can however encourage daughter to tell her mom herself! So, I say that they are a viral infection, like a cold sore (not lying) and give Rx – what to do? daughter doesn’t have means to get Rx filled with out mom? This is problem with private pts- Planned Parenthood is only free for medicaid pts- I know- I called them! How about how parents get the explanation of benefits? anyway- back to story- mom is looking at me and asks something- can’t remember exactly wanting me to tell her what we discussed- I say whatever we discussed is confidential- mom starts crying! Now that I have my own practice I can set rules up front- this was the other guys pts- very ackward- other pts that I very appropriately asked with parent out of the room if they ever had anyknind of sex- seemed fine with the Q. (hadn’t but you never know- Amy Grossman came from this town) later they must have told their mom who got very insulted that I would even think to ask such a Q. to their precious darling- told my boss, then he yelled at me!!!! BTW he had missed this Herpes case a fews days before b/c he HADN’T asked- she said burning on urination and he prescribed antibiotic for UTI even though the urine dip was neg! Once I had a very young girl in the ER for abd pain and incidently she had lesbian mothers- I always ask the big Q. with the parents out of the room- so kid wont be intim. to lie- she emphatically said NO I was very suspicious of a pelvic prob for whatever reason (this goes back to 1997)but believed her b/c she looked absolutely inocent and so I ran around for a long time searching for a virginal speculum- when I finally found one- and came back to the room- she was with her mothers crying- she started to feel nervous so she told them- after all that work I wouldn’t have needed the small after all ! (just kidding) Here’s a few more funny stories about adolescents- never ask “Are you sexually active?” They might think- no I just lie there- or that you mean promiscuous- they are very concrete- I once ad a girl with fever- I asked if she ever had sex- no- later I asked if she was ever pregnant- no- then I asked if she ever had an abortion or misscarriage- YES! 2 wks ago she had an abortion! can you believe- what if I didn’t ask! first she lied- then she thought – she never was fully pregnant! I asked a boy once who was admitted for mono so bad he couldn’t swallow- the next morning I got yelled at in morning report- the attending said “How did you ask?” I said that I asked if he ever had sex? He said NO You must say “Has your penis ever touched a mouth anus or vagina!” I also had a boy in the ER once tell me that the first time he ever had sex with a women was when he was 9 this kid was a skinny 14 y/o is that possible? I had another girl in the ER who said she was lesbian and had multiple times PID from infection under partners nails!- I’m posting this in General- adolescent stories are so funny!

    #104160
    BevBev
    Participant

    As I understand it, the Supreme Court has ruled that parental notification laws are constitutional. Parental consent laws are a little trickier–I think you cannot require consent from both parents. However, in both cases, there must be a judicial route that the teenager can use. They allow each state to set its own limitations on abortions as long as they do not completely outlaw them or make it so restrictive that it may as well be illegal, then they are within the bounds of the law. Indiana is quite adept at pushing the envelope on how restrictive is too restrictive.

    As far as what I think, I do not think a girl should be required to notify her parents. However, my husband likes to point out that any other major medical procedure would require my consent and perhaps this one should as well? I don’t think so. I’d rather have my daughter hate me and not trust me, but stay non-pregnant and STD-free than have her come to me asking to get an abortion! (And given my daughter’s gullibility, I’m betting she falls for every line in the book).

    Want a good story…my Women’s Health prof once told us about a lecture she gave on a Naval base to recruits. A young couple decided to wait until marriage and 2 weeks after the wedding came to see doc about why she was having pain during intercourse. He examined the girl and discovered that her urethra was red and inflamed. A few questions later, he discovers that they were *so* unaware of her anatomy that they’d been working for two weeks just to manage any penetration at all in her *urethra*!!! Can you imagine?

    #104162
    MTaylorMTaylor
    Participant

    I agree with Myimd:
    A young woman who has a baby is able to make very important decisions on behalf of their baby. In the ER, when a 17 year old girl brings in her 2 year old son for medical care, she signs consent, she can say “yes” or “no” with regards to most medical interventions, she can sign the baby out AMA if she wants to, she’s the boss of the baby. To say this girl cannot make a decision to not have the baby without her parents consent is counterintuitive. And to go one step further…the parents of the girl cannot override the decisions made by their daughter with regards to the baby boy. So, I’d argue, that with regards to reproduction, the parent’s role in healthcare is deemphasized, as the result of the reproductive process is entirely the responsibility of the daughter.

    Age, well, with this rationale, there can’t be a cutoff, now can there? A 12 yo girl can become a mom, and in turn make decisions for herself and baby. Just because she’s 12 she’s not excluded – nor should she be with regards to reproductive care (abortions, STD, counseling, etc.)

    #104163
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    Absolutely YES! Abortions are still surgical procedures that require medications and carry risks with them. I’m sorry if it might be ‘uncomfortable’ for a girl to come to her parents…

    Though there may be some children who do suffer consequences like being thrown out of the house, many others may find support from their families after the intial shock wears off. I have two friends that ended up keeping their babies after going to their mothers…One of them was in high school and her mother ended up pitching in and helping her get her graduate and get her 4 year degree. She later went to grad school as well. This was definately a HUGE deal…this girl cried for 2 weeks before telling her mom and even considered suicide. We all stood by her and the school counselor helped her to tell her mother. We all anticipated the worst…and instead she now has a master’s degree and is interestingly a high school guidance counselor, has two children (including the one she considered aborting) and is married.

    The other friend was from college and after extensive talks with her family (that was very religious and disowned her for about 3 days) she ended up having the baby and going through an open adoption process.

    Unless you are all willing to have your children treated for anything medical without your consent how can you support this? I’m baffled by the NOs! I have to sign multiple letters of consent for any surgical or emergency procedures for my child….even going to the dentist requires that I consent for him to have x-rays or local anesthesia.

    Here is a question…if your child were to have an abortion without you knowing it and then would suffer a complication like an infection what would you do? Lets say that your daughter chooses not to come to you with her fever and pain because she has already hidden the abortion from you…she is afraid that you’ll find out and be even angrier…so she becomes septic and dies…or suffers permanent damage rendering her sterile, etc, etc…will you still stand by her right to have this done without your consent?

    Or…lets not forget the emotional turmoil that she may later feel after the abortion. Many adults experience feelings of loss and depression after an abortion….what if your daughter then can’t come to you with that because she has hidden the abortion from you? The abortion may, at the end of the day, do more damage to her and to your relationship than might have been done had you been angry with her for getting pregnant.

    I support a woman’s right to choose….but I am in no way willing to let a minor make a medical decision like that without the consent of parents….unless the parents are willing to accept a bad outcome without a lawsuit. While we are at it, we might as well lower the legal age of consent for sex…after all, we are treating them like adults after the deed…..

    just some things to ponder.

    #104164
    MTaylorMTaylor
    Participant

    I agree that parents *should* be involved in their child’s life (including healthcare). And I agree that rules should not be made based on what parents *might* say or do in response to the news that their dear daughter is pregnant. This isn’t really relevant. The issue is barriers to healthcare, and regarding some issues, having the parents involved serves as a major barrier. This is what I’m against. Yes, this can be extrapolated to say “this barrier exists because of the anticipated parental response” but it is a barrier nonetheless.

    Other examples: In the ER, we get consent for procedures/treatment if the parents are present. If they are not, we act on behalf of the child using our own professional judgement, without consent. Imagine if your child was hit by a car and taken to our trauma center…you were at work. You are notified and rush to the hospital. Prior to your arrival do you think that we are all just waiting for you to give consent for treatment? What if you got into an accident yourself? Or what if the child’s parents are high or cracked out and don’t give a damn, therefore never show up? We treat the child.

    Or, if we consider a parent’s request *not* in the best interest of the child…we hold the child (against the parents wishes), continue doing what we think is medically indicated (despite lack of consent) while we obtain a court order to make decisions in the place of the parent. This is done because not all parents make decisions that are good for their child (I can elaborate if you’re interested).

    And, if there are complications (as with anything) they are dealt with. Just like when the parent isn’t around to consent for other things that we do in the ER.

    All of this to say, the parent isn’t the end-all, always. There are many instances where we as healthcare professionals do what we feel is best for the individual despite what someone elses wishes are. And, with regard to abortion…sure I think parents should know, but to require it prior to the procedure would simply serve as a barrier to healthcare.

    I figure, what are the parents going to say, “no you can’t have an abortion” and make a girl/woman have a baby? Then what? She has the baby and become an *adult* and able to then make her own healthcare decisions and those of her child? They can’t really say “no.” So why have their consent mandated prior to obtaining the procedure?

    Then, to take it one step further…now the the girl is pregnant (and plans to have the baby), who makes decisions for her throughout her pregnancy? What if there are complications during the pregnancy? Do the parents still control her womb and fetus? And once she delivers the baby, all of a sudden the responsibility shifts away from the parents to the girl?

    My point is: Do the parents have the right to make their daughter carry a pregnancy to term despite what she may want? Should *anybody* have the right to make a woman have a baby she doesn’t want? I say no. That being the case, parental consent is not necessary.

    #104165
    amykamyk
    Participant

    Here is a question…if your child were to have an abortion without you knowing it and then would suffer a complication like an infection what would you do? Lets say that your daughter chooses not to come to you with her fever and pain because she has already hidden the abortion from you…she is afraid that you’ll find out and be even angrier…so she becomes septic and dies…or suffers permanent damage rendering her sterile, etc, etc…will you still stand by her right to have this done without your consent?

    You can live with someone and miss early pregnancy. Serious infection’s a little harder to miss. If she were that ill, she’d be in the hospital here, and we’d doubtless find out what happened soon enough. (Frankly, we’d probably know anyway. Have you ever seen someone just post-abortion? It’s a little hard to hide that something serious is physically, let alone emotionally, wrong.)

    The risk of infection and permanent physical damage is brought much lower by accessible, legal abortion. I thought we’d been through this one. If she were rendered sterile…no, that’s not a pretty thought. But again, a responsible provider will make sure she understands the risk. If she decided to go through with it…then yes, it’s her decision. As her parent, the only way I’d be able to mitigate any risk of complication would be to get her to an abortion provider with a good reputation. So thank you for reminding me of something else for the checklist: If she’s in such a position, she ought to know where to go for a safe abortion.

    The abortion may, at the end of the day, do more damage to her and to your relationship than might have been done had you been angry with her for getting pregnant.

    This is true. However, it may not do as much damage as having her hang around in fear and put off saying something until it’s too late for a first-trimester abortion. I’ve seen this one happen, too, and if you want to talk about emotional damage, there it is. There’s a big difference between a 7-week abortion and an 18-week abortion.

    While we are at it, we might as well lower the legal age of consent for sex…after all, we are treating them like adults after the deed…..

    er…how many naked 16-year-olds do you think stop and say, “Oh, wait, we’re not legal, better put your clothes back on”?

    amy

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