I'm a parent of a 17 year old daughter. Most voters are parents. The notion that they should be notified if their daughter wants an abortion strikes the vast majority of people as pretty unremarkable, no matter what their ideology.
So I was curious what the arguments will be. We are now getting a good preview, from the Oregonian and from the Blue Oregon blog.
In today's Oregonian, Jack Ohman's cartoon (which isn't yet on the website) essentially makes the argument that requiring parents to be notified will result in pregnant teen girls dying from back-alley abortions. I think this is the weakest of the weak arguments against this.
On Blue Oregon, Anne Martens (who is a staffer for Secretary of State Bill Bradbury) makes the ridculous argument that conservatives are hypocritical because requiring parental notification is an example of nanny-state government.
Let me get this straight, Anne. My daughter goes to her school based health clinic because she got pregnant, and her boyfriend is pressuring her to get an abortion. She knows that I would be very upset if she tells me what is going on. The counselors at the clinic - a government agency - help her get an abortion without my knowledge.
And if I say that the law should require me to be notified, I'm looking for a nanny state?
Unreal. That, folks, is the quality of the arguments you are likely to see on this issue. Anne Martens has never really dazzled anybody with her brilliance, of course (except perhaps Blue Oregon founder Kari Chisholm, who actually did comment that her argument was "brilliant.")
Other arguments seen on Blue Oregon:
- The age of medical consent is 15, so there is no reason to make it 18 in the case of abortion. The problem with this argument is that this measure is parental notification, not parental consent.
- The incest question: what if a girl is raped by her step-father? First, this is a red herring. What percent of teen pregnancies are a result of incest? Second, there is is a judicial override that is part of this measure. The comments on Blue Oregon dismiss the judicial override, asking what teenager will know enough to go through all that intimidating process? Well, excuse me, but I am sure that Planned Parenthood will be ready and willing to help shepherd any teen through the process.
- One commenter on Blue Oregon actually said they had it all wrong - the argument should be that promoting abortion among teens is a great way to save welfare state dollars and make sure there aren't a lot of single parent families! The eugenics argument, which the left has danced with over and over again during the last century.
None of the arguments I have heard or seen seem at all compelling compared to the very visceral, common sense take that most voters will have: should I know if my daughter is seeking an abortion?