The New York Times on Monday ran an article, Scant Drop Seen in Abortion Rate if Parents Are Told, which claims that a review of the data in six states suggests that if abortion rates do fall, they only fall a slight amount in states that pass parental consent legislation.
However, the real interest in this New York Times article lies in the confusion it has generated in the pro-abortion sector of the blogosphere about abortion, violence, parents and pregnant teenagers.
In order to understand the confusion, we first must review three key points.
The first point is that violence is bad. When passions run high around abortion, and violence is committed or threatened, that's bad...right? Keep that in mind.
The second point we must remember is that parental consent legislation only comes into play when a minor is pregnant and wants an abortion. If she goes to an abortion clinic in a state with parental consent laws, the abortion clinic must tell her that in order to perform the abortion that she wants a parent must be brought into the picture.
The third point to keep in mind is that, whether abortion is legal or illegal, some parents absolutely cannot tolerate the concept that their teenage daughter is pregnant. This can result in parents taking strong measures to insist that their daughter obtain an abortion. Those of us who work in post-abortion ministry hear tragic stories about parentally-coerced abortions all the time. The broader pro-life community, as well, has always has been aware of parentally-coerced minor abortions. For example, it's well-known that parentally-coerced abortions are a not infrequent source of the late-term abortion business at the Tiller clinic in Wichita. The January 2006 Silent No More gathering in Washington, DC included a testimony from a 20-year-old woman who was forced by her parents, when she was 13, to travel to Kansas for a five-day Tiller abortion when she was nearly six months pregnant.
However, we in the pro-life community understand that the parental consent legislation that has passed in a number of states due to lobbying pressure from the pro-life community has nothing to do with the tragedy of parentally-coerced minor abortions. That's because parental consent legislation is only relevant in cases where the minor herself shows up at an abortion clinic, without her parents and without having told her parents that she is pregnant and leaning in favor of an abortion. The point of the legislation is to give the pregnant minor a chance to share all this with her parents, before the abortion clinic sucks the baby into a sink absent the input of (we hope) mature adults who can give her some perspective, protection from a hasty decision and the long-term view.
Repeat after me: Parental consent laws have nothing to do with the tragedy of parentally-coerced abortions.
Now, let's take a more detailed look at the New York Times article and the pro-abortion blogosphere.
The New York Times article says:
But some workers and doctors at abortion clinics said that the laws had little connection with the real lives of most teenagers, and that they more often saw parents pressing their daughters to have abortions than trying to stop them.
But providers interviewed in 10 states with parental involvement laws all said that of the minors who came into their clinics, parents were more often the ones pushing for an abortion, even against the wishes of their daughters.
Now, the apparent implication of this paragraph--which stresses that these interviews occurred only in states "with parental involvement laws"--is that it's the fault of the "parental involvement" laws that these parents are forcing their daughters to have abortions.
It's as if the two New York Times reporters who conducted the interviews and wrote this paragraph are under the bizarre misimpression that the "parental involvement" laws say that if you're a teenager and you're pregnant, you have to ask your mom and dad what they want you to do about the pregnancy, and--whoa! you really stepped in it here, you losers in the pro-life community who insisted on these laws!--it turns out that when some parents get "involved" under the provisions of parental consent, what they want is for their daughters to get abortions.
"I see far more parents trying to pressure their daughters to have one," said Jane Bovard, owner of the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, N.D., a state where a minor needs consent from both parents. "As a parent myself, I can understand. But I say to parents, 'You force her to have this abortion, and I can tell you that within the next six months she's going to be pregnant again.'"
Renee Chelian, director of Northland Family Planning Centers in the Detroit area, said she had had to call the police on parents who wanted their daughters to have abortions, "because they threaten physical violence on the kids."
Yes, pro-life community, it seems that these clinic workers and the two reporters for the New York Times believe that it is your fault that these parents are in these abortion clinics forcing their daughters to get abortions. Whereas (see Point Two above), in fact these laws only come into play when the minor child is at an abortion clinic seeking an abortion, and her parents don't know a thing about either the pregnancy or the proposed abortion.
And it's not only the New York Times and the clinic workers who think it is your fault that parents are forcing unwanted abortions on their daughters. It's also the pro-abortion blogsophere.
The blogger at The Carpetbagger Report says:
Most notably, proponents of parental-consent have suggested there would be fewer abortions because parents wouldn't allow it. The data shows the opposite: "[S]ome workers and doctors at abortion clinics said that the laws had little connection with the real lives of most teenagers, and that they more often saw parents pressing their daughters to have abortions than trying to stop them."
By the way, Carpetbagger, there was no data in the article about this...just a few quotes from clinic workers. However, forced abortions are a real problem and have been for years. The pro-life community has been trying to draw attention to them for years. It's just that you weren't interested--until you thought that forced abortions could be used to say nyah-nyah-nyah-boo-boo to the pro-life community.
Similarly, RadioLeft can hardly contain its glee:
Workers at doctors offices and abortion clinics who were interviewed by the Times, said that in many cases, parents, when notified, insist their teenagers have abortions. Rather than prevent their teens from having the abortion, the goal of the right wingers who have pushed these laws, parents don't want their children to ruin their lives by having babies they cannot raise. Parents usually then accompany their children and pay for the abortion.
See? "Parents, when notified..." That is, it's your fault, pro-life community, when parents force their daughters to get abortions. Because you passed these laws! Except...wait...these laws only apply when a minor shows up at an abortion clinic without her parents.
The blogger at Brilliant Breakfast can't restrain her delighted told-you-so!
It's no surprise to me that parental notification laws often result in parents wanting their daughters to have abortions.In other words, once again, we have a blogger who thinks that parental consent legislation is to blame for parentally coerced abortions.
Now, let's go back to Point One above:
The first point is that violence is bad. When passions run high around abortion, and violence is committed or threatened, that's bad...right?
Um, well. Nothing I read in these pro-abortion bloggers suggests that they are upset or concerned in any way about the pro-abortion violence being imposed by these pro-abortion parents on their teenage daughters. Otherwise, wouldn't they be calling (as the pro-life community has for years) for legislation to insist that abortion clinics thoroughly and effectively screen for cases where an abortion is being considered because of pressure and threats of violence by parents or boyfriends?