O P I N I O N


How will she cope, and in whom will she confide, when the law has taught her not to trust in her parents' guidance?

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Parental Guidance is Not Burdensome

DIANE DEW

Fort Wayne-South Bend 9/27/87

Since when is it "a burden" to talk to one's parents? A federal court, in striking down a law requiring parental notification or judicial approval for a minor to procure an abortion, has ruled just that.

It is ironic that, while a teenage girl must obtain parental consent for such a minor procedure as having her ears pierced, for her to lay her life on the line (as well as that of her unborn child) and obtain an abortion, no parental notification is required. If a teenager, because of her immaturity and inexperience in decision-making, may not enroll herself in the school of her choice without her parent's signature and consent, how can she be expected, at the same age, to independently come to a decision regarding such a serious issue as whether to obtain an abortion?

How will she cope, and in whom will she confide, when the law has taught her not to trust in her parents' guidance? If she conceals her abortion, will family members be sensitive enough to respond to her increased need for patience and understanding in the traumatic aftermath of her abortion? If, at some later date, she should choose to confide in her parents the fact of her abortion, how will she explain her initial refusal to trust in their judgment?

Encouraging children to seek parental guidance is not "burdensome," as the court has stated. On the contrary, to subject them to the psychologically agonizing torture of making such a grave decision on their own is to burden them unduly. How can such underhanded deception (now sanctioned by law in 28 state), be "in the child's best interests"? Rather than seizing the opportunity, in this case, to reinforce the family unit by providing the child a stable base upon which to build her life experiences, the court has chosen rather to undermine the family structure by assisting minors to procure an abortion without parental support. It is also strikingly ironic that the same parents who would be required by law to provide extended financial and medical assistance to the child, if any aspect of the abortion procedure went awry and left her, say, paralytic or comatose -- and the same parents who could be required by law to support an infant born of their child (if the teen did not elect to procure an abortion) -- these same parents are not themselves protected by law to assist the child in deciding whether to even carry the infant to term.

While it is understandable that a teenager might not initially choose to confide in her parents the fact of her promiscuity, nevertheless, for the law to assist the child in her efforts to conceal it will only cause her harm. The disagreeableness of a family confrontation in no way justifies governmental usurpation of parents' rights. To shield children from every undesirable situation in life is not wise -- particularly when such "protection" subjects them to what has often enough proven to be a very serious, even life-threatening, medical procedure, with long-lasting psychological effects.

Common sense balks at the court's nonsensical reasoning.

1987 Diane S. Dew

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