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December 06, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-06

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, December 6, 1989

The

reality

of

parental

consent

The Michigan Daily
laws

by the University of Michigan
Coalition for Choice.
The Supreme Court last week heard oral
arguments on cases from Minnesota and
Ohio concerning the abortion rights of
minors. This week in Michigan the House
of Representatives approved its own
parental consent bill (House Bill 5103) re-
quiring a minor to obtain parental consent
in order to have an abortion. Because we
can no longer rely on the Supreme Court
to protect the rights of our most vulnera-
ble citizens, we must defeat this bill now.
Proponents of parental consent argue
that they are merely promoting good fam-
ily communication by ensuring parent-
child discussion in the difficult situation
of teen pregnancy. However, when one
looks at the implications of a parental
consent law, one thing becomes clear:
parental consent laws have nothing to do
with promoting family dialogue and every-
thing to do with trying to restrict abortion
rights.
Most pregnant teens do inform their
parents. In fact, in Michigan the figure is
roughly 70 per cent. For most pregnant
teens, in other words, the Michigan law is
unnecessary. But what about the remain-
ing 30 per cent? Incest, domestic violence,
or drug or alcohol abusing parents, and
fear of being thrown out of the house are
reasons that some of these teens are reluc-
tant to confide in their parents. Teens who
can tell their parents will, and those who
do not have a good reason to retain their
privacy.
A key component of HB 5103 is the ju-
dicial bypass, by which a teen who is de-
nied parental consent can try to obtain
permission through the courts. Judicial
bypass, however, is extremelyproblem-
atic. These cases would go to probate
court, which already has a heavy case load
of juvenile crime and child abuse and ne-
glect cases. It is thus unrealistic to expect
judges to spend the time necessary to in-
vestigate fully each young woman's situa-
tion. In fact, in states with judicial bypass
the average duration of the court hearing
was 12.2 minutes.

Judicial bypass raises the issue of pri-
vacy. The bill talks of ensuring
anonymity, but other states' experiences
tell a different story. In Minnesota, the
minor came in contact with an average of
23 people by the time the hearing was
over, all of whom knew why she was
there. In rural areas there is a considerable
likelihood that one of those 23 could be a
neighbor or relative.

the birth rate for 15 to 17-year-olds rose
38 percent from 1980 to 1984, while the
birth rate for 18 and 19-year-olds (who
were not covered by the Minnesota law)
rose only 0.3 percent during the same pe- 4
riod.
Another problem with parental consent
is that the parents of the teen have the
ability to deny her request to obtain an
abortion but have no legal responsibility

'However, when one looks at the implica-
tions of a parental consent law, one thing
becomes clear: parental consent laws have
nothing to do with promoting family dia-
logue and everything to do with trying to
restrict abortion rights.'

4

Not only is judicial bypass an invasion
of privacy, but it also discriminates
against disadvantaged teens. While some
teens may have the knowledge to access
the system and the resources to obtain ade-
quate legal representation, most teens will
not. For these teens, the system will be
too intimidating and court appointed attor-
neys too busy to provide adequate legal
representation.
One of the most disturbing aspects of
judicial bypass is the paradoxical position
ii which it puts judges, who would have
t determine the pregnant teen's maturity
hLvei. A judge may determine that she is
not mature enough to have an abortion.
But if this is the case, then this teen is
certainly not mature enough to have a
child.
This paradox may be the reason why ju-
dicial bypass in other states has been noth-
ing more than a rubber stamp. For exam-
ple, in Minnesota there were more than
3,500 petitions for abortion from 1981 to
1986. Of these, 9 were denied. Judicial
bypass only results in delays that bring
about increased health risks and further
emotional distress.
Because of these problems with judicial
bypass, many teens can be expected to
give birth. For example, in Minneapolis

to support the baby financially. Moreover,
once the teen becomes a mother, her par-
ents have no more responsibility to sup-
port her. The teen could, conceivably, be
on her own with a child to support.
For these teens and their children, the
future is grim. A child of a teenage mother
is twice as likely to die in infancy than
those with a mother in her twenties. As-
suming the baby survives through in-
fancy, the figures still do not offer much
encouragement or hope: teenage mothers
earn about half as much as those who first
gave birth in their 20s, and 67 percent of
families headed by teen mother live below
the poverty level.
Instead of promoting good family com-
munication, a parental consent law would
have a devastating effect on those teens
that are already in an extremely difficult si-
tuation. We therefore urge our elected rep-
resentatives to vote against parental con-
sent legislation. For those of you who
agree, we will have tablestoday in the
dorms and Thursday in the Fishbowl
where you can sign a postcard urging your
representative to vote against this bill.
The University of Michigan Coalition
for Choice is a coalition of the ACLU
Pro-Choice Committee, College
Democrats, Democratic Socialists of
America, and Greeks for Choice.

-Cathy, 17, was a victim of Indiana law PI-106, which requires parental
consent for an abortion. She didn't want to disappoint her parents or
'friends, so she told no one when she realized she was pregnant. To
avoid getting her parent's consent, she self-aborted. When she became
seriously ill, her parents, who had no idea what was wrong, rushed her
to the emergency room. Ill and in severe pain, Cathy kept her silence,
while doctors gave her an antibiotic and sent her home. She died on
°-September 22, 1988.
The above story is from the placard in front of the Unknown Women's
Memorial in Washington, D.C.

A L1' b e itbadat U i stij
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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l. C, No. 64
signed editorials represent a majo
toons, signed articles, and letters
he Daily.

rity of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
do not necessarily represent the opinion

Strangling dialogue
TOVEMBER 15, when Palestini- ening parallel to. similar behavior exer-
)und the world were proudly cel- cised by the Israeli Army against the
ng the first anniversary of the Palestinian population whose land it il-
ration of an independent legally occupies and whose human
inian state, the Wayne State rights it systematically violates. That
rsity newspaper, The South End, the racism practiced there can come
advertisement designed to both home to roost here underscores the re-
this important occasion and pressive links through which both Is-
date those who dared to rael and the U.S. government which
emorate it. supports it are working to deny Pales-
ifically, the ad exacerbated the tinians the right to voice their legitimate
y severe anti-Arab racism that has aspirations for self-determination.
singly marked the U.S. political It is even more outrageous that The
Calling for people to "beware of South End would choose to print an ad
ious objects," to "check your legitimizing stereotypes of Palestinians
obiles for explosives," and using - stereotypes that help prevent average
Mossad documents to imply that citizens of both Israel and the United
1 PLO policy is to bomb tourists, States from seeing Palestinians as
put out by a group calling itself people with rights rather than terrorists
onist Student Organization, used who throw bombs. To reinforce such
arged term terrorism to imply that myths is to practice the very terrorism
abs were terrorists, and that all that groups such as the Zionist Student
hinking people should avoid Organization claim as endemic to
ike the plague. Palestinians.
h an ad can be dismissed as Like the Israeli government itself,
able and ridiculous, and its Zionist groups in the U.S. continually
d logic and transparent hate preach the need for dialogue yet spend
certainly be both were it not for their time and money to intimidate
ious ramifications of such pro- rather than to educate. The ad that ap-
da among the U.S. public, and, peared in The South End exemplifies
cally, in the Detroit metropolitan this. Rather than create dialogue based
When forty Detroit area on reality - like the fact that the PLO
children were asked last year has accepted Israel's right to exist -
he first word was that came to the Zionist Student Organization relies
when they heard the word on the same propaganda which has
," all forty of them answered prevented such dialogue for years.
rist." And, just this past week,
sixty Arab schoolchildren were When Palestinians and others here
ed as a group for knives because stand up in solidarity with the Pales-
uffle that had broken out at their tinian struggle they do so because they
p on the way to school. too wish to raise their voice against

Productive dialogue needed
by James Green, Jeremy Litt agency appealed for peace. Jamal Husseini, plunge into total. war which will put an
and Dana Miller the committee's spokesperson, told the end to Israel."
and_ Dana_____er _ UN on November 24, 1947: "the partition #5: The Israeli government goes on
line proposed shall be nothing but a line, with its repressive and racist policies."
After reading the editorial "Independence of fire and blood." The UN blamed the The rights of the Jewish community are
for Palestine" (Daily, 11/15/89) we felt Arabs for the war. Husseini later told the guaranteed by Israeli law. In contrast,
compelled to reply, not to the intent of the UN Security Council, "... We told the nearly every Arab state proclaims Islam as
editorial, but instead to the plethora of fac- whole world that we were going to fight." the state religion and minority groups are
tual misconceptions which are rife b) According to the UN Relief and harassed or oppressed. Other Arab states
throughout the piece. Rather than assault Works Agency, the number of Arab have laws that facilitate the naturalization
the reader with all of the facts at once, we refugees who left Israel was about only of foreign Arabs, with the specific
will attempt to explain the errors we 590,000. At this same time 800,000 Jew- exception of Palestinian Arabs.
found. ish refugees fled from Arab states because #6: "The Palestine National Council
#1: "In November 1947, the United Na- Egypt told the UN General Assembly: formally accepted the United Nation's res-
tions (comprising almost exclusive West- "the lives of a million Jews in Moslem olutions 242 and 338, which implicitly
em powers) partitioned historic Palestine countries will be jeopardized by the estab- recognize Israel. The acceptance of 242 and
- without consulting its Arab inhabitants lishment of the Jewish state." 338 as a basis for negotiations in addition
-into two states." #3: "Those who were able to remain to Arafat's decision to recognize Israel's
within what became Israel face discrimina- right to exist represent major concessions
a) The United Nations sent an eleven-na- tion and have since been relegated to the on the part of the Palestinian leadership."
tion special commission (UNSCOP) to status of third-class citizens..."
Palestine to investigate. None of the great
powers was on that body. UNSCOP in- a) The PLO accepted 242 and 338 along
cluded: Canada, Czechoslovakia, Israel's 775,000 Arab citizens have vot- with relevant UN resolutions, including
Guatemala, the Netherlands, Peru, Swe- ing rights and hold 7 of the 120 voting those which call for UN members to sever
den, Uruguay, India, Iran, Yugoslavia and seats in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, ties with Israel and brand Israel an outlaw,
Australia. The Arabs of Palestine boy- Arabic is an official language in Israel. 90 racist state.
cotted UNSCOP, ignored UNSCOP's call percent of the Arab children attend Israeli b) As Abba Eban said, "Nobody does Is-
for a partition, and demanded a unitary schools, compared to 45 percent before the rael any service by proclaiming its 'right
Arab state, declaring 'no partition, no fur- establishment of Israel. The only restric- to exist.' Israel's right to exist, like that
ther Jewish immigration and no Jewish tion to Arab citizenship is that Arabs are of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152
state.' not required to serve in the Israeli army. other states, is axiomatic and unreserved.
b) The United Nations was given the #4: "In 1967, Israel launched another Israel's legitimacy is not suspended in
power to declare a partition by Great Bri- war of aggression, aimed at acquiring the midair awaiting acknowledgement....
tain, which had legally obtained control of Palestinian land occupied, and held with There is certainly no other state, big or
Palestine from Turkey under the Lausanne military force, by Egypt and Jordan since small, young or old, that would consider
agreement of 1923. 1948 - the West Bank and Gaza Strip." mere recognition of its 'right to exist' a
#2: "The founders of the new country favor, or negotiable concession."
Israel... set out to seize the remainder of Israel's strike on June 5, 1967 was a re- We have discussed some of the more
historic Palestine and drive the indigenous sponse to Egypt's threatened attack. On important issues, but we believe that if a
people off the land. More than 900,000 May 22,1967 Egypt had announced a productive dialogue on the Arab/Israeli
Palestinians were made refugees in a War blockade of the Gulf of Aquaba, cutting conflict is to prevail, we must first dispel
of Conquest and they have never been off the Israeli port of Eilat. This violation exaggerated claims which cloud an already
permitted to return to their homes." of international agreements was not only complicated issue and reduce it to a com-
an act of war by any standard, but also just petition for rhetorical victories.
a) Throughout the 1947 UN debate, the part of a build-up against Israel. On May Green is an MSA representative, Litt is an
Palestinian higher committee threatened 17, Cairo Radio's Voice of the Arabs pro- LSA sophomore and Miller is the Vice
war, while a spokesperson for the Jewish claimed: "all Egypt is now prepared to Chair of IMPAC.
I ($ 0 PuSN SAIDt l WEH I S£WTC1D AOD A INiRAHOW H.E SAYS IX 6J PAS qr ftt I its -tISE i os 'srIN

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