Friday, June 15, 2007

Quote of the week

To me it’s unconscionable that you can’t give an aspirin to a child in school without parental consent, but they can have major surgery without parental notification.
--State Senator Robert J. Letourneau of New Hampshire in response to the legislature's decision to repeal a law requiring teenage girls to notify their parents before having an abortion. [link]

I said the exact same thing to the school nurse--in far less articulate terms--when she refused to give me ibuprofen for cramps back in 1994 because I didn't have a permission slip...

1 comment:

Mila said...

Well, to me it is "unconscionable" for some to claim to be "pro-life" and yet in favor of a war in which thousands if not millions of innocent children and women were killed…if we're going to be polemic, why not bring out the whole truth? Before going any further, I'd like to hear just one pro-choice person attempt to give a "moral" answer to that question.

Letourneau's statement hides much of the complexity of the situation. Abortion is not a "surgical procedure" in the same way that an appendectomy or hip replacement surgery are. Getting parental consent to take a pain killer is kind of wacky, but it makes sense b/c usually the kid's life is not in danger, there are alternative methods of care and there are alternative methods of accessing care if the pain persists and the parent denies the medicine to a child. Plus, the parent may be aware of the child's incompatibility with certain medicines.

When it comes to abortion, however, a child often cannot bring it up to her family. We unfortunately live in a country rampant with Christian fundamentalism and religious orthodoxy, where parents are willing to uphold certain "moral codes" rather than actually care about their child's livelihood. If abortion clinics weren't being protested and bombed, if teenage girls weren't kicked out of their homes for getting pregnant, if certain religious leaders were not sending out crazy amounts of mixed messages to the general population (i.e. it's okay to cheat on your wife with another woman/man as long as you repent to Christ but it's not okay to get pregnant…?), then maybe a girl would feel more comfortable sharing her pain with her parents. But we as a society are not there yet.