There is pending legislation in my home state of Florida known as HB 265, Parental consent for a minor to have an abortion. The bill’s main sponsor in the House is Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach. Current Florida law requires the parent to be notified of their minor daughter’s pending abortion; this bill if enacted would require parental consent as well.
Public comment and support is fractured along the fault lines of those issues that surround abortion, and the voting in legislative committees has fallen along party lines. If one listens to the arguments for and against one would come away with the idea that this is purely about abortion. But that is not true.
If it were purely a matter of abortion I would be a supporter of the bill. I do support this bill but for a different reason; who should be the one who is primarily responsible for making the decisions in the life of a minor. Should it be the parents, or others, whoever that may be?
Currently, a minor girl cannot get her ears pierced without her parents consent, but if she is pregnant she can secure an abortion without her parents’ consent. Where is the logic in that?
An abortion has the greater potential for medical and psychological complications than getting a girl’s ears pierced. If complications arise as a result of the abortion, who is should assume the financial responsibility, the abortion provider or the parents who have not consented to the abortion?
Are we to permit a culture who on the one hand says it is “child abuse” if a fifteen year old girl is impregnated, but she is a “young woman” with the adult right to form consent to a procedure that her parents might oppose? Is the fifteen year old a girl or a woman, a child or an adult?
Our culture has decided a child becomes an adult when he or she reaches the age of eighteen, an arbitrary rule, but one that has been honored historically and legally.
Since Moses the Scriptures have held the parents responsible for the spiritual well being of their children “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons,” Deuteronomy 6:6-7. Paul echoes Moses when he wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” Ephesians 6:4.
Traditionally and historically it has been understood that the parents are the ones responsible for the welfare of their children, not only in faith communities but in the broader society as well. What precedent is there now for stripping the rights of parents regarding the medical welfare of their minor daughter?
I do not know what decisions parents will make regarding their unwed daughter should she become pregnant. They may want her to have an abortion, hopefully not; but regardless, that decision should be theirs and theirs alone.
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