In the past two weeks, two events taking place 857 miles apart show just how absurd our ideas about ?freedom? have become.
One of the events involved a 13-year-old girl known only as ?L. G.? ?L. G.? has been in the custody of Florida?s Department of Children & Families (DCF) since she was nine. In late January, ?L. G.? ran away from the DCF shelter and, during her absence, became pregnant.
After her return, her caseworker arranged for an abortion. On the day the abortion was scheduled, DCF requested a court order delaying the abortion. DCF argued that it has the ?custodial responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the child.?
At the hearing, ?L. G.,? who was represented by the Florida ACLU, justified her decision by saying that ?it would make no sense to have the baby.? She asked the judge, ?Why can?t I make my own decision???13-year-old girl.
The judge delayed the abortion long enough for ?L. G.? to be examined psychologically. When, as expected, she passed the exam, he ruled that she could have an abortion.
The truth is that they didn?t have any choice. A 2003 Florida Supreme Court ruling struck down a state law requiring parental notification in the case of a minor seeking an abortion. If parents don?t have the right to be notified, what good does it to require parental consent?
At the same time this was going on, the House of Representatives debated a law that makes it ?illegal to dodge parental-consent laws by taking minors across state lines for abortions.? As the law now stands, an unrelated adult who takes a 13-year-old from, say,
But, predictably, an ACLU spokesman said that the bill ?reflects a lack of compassion toward teens.? Just as predictably, ?abortion-rights? advocates tried to tack on exceptions that would have swallowed the rule.
What?s missing in all of this talk about ?decisions? and ?compassion? is any appreciation of the absurdity that underlies the abortion debate. In any other context, the idea that a 13-year-old has a constitutional right to choose against her parents? wishes an invasive surgical procedure, or even consent to one, would be absurd. Schools need parental permission to dispense over-the-counter medications. And a 13-year-old can?t get her ears pierced without mom or dad being present.
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